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Ponder the doctrine deep that lieth hidden 
Under the veil of verses enigmatic. — dante 

[ issued for the rationalist press association, limited ] 




• •' •" » 



Preface -__._..- ix 


Orientation -------- i 

The Dilemma- --__-.- 4 

Argument from Personality ----- 9 

Method of the Fourth Gospel ----- 25 

The Primitive Misunderstanding- - - - - 31 

"Esoterism" in the Gospel ----- 34 

Content of the Gospel ------ 45 

The Secret of Primitive Christianity - - - - 60 

The Active Principle of Christianity - - - - 67 


Preliminary --------77 

Witness of Acts -------84 

Witness of Revelation and Hebrews - - - - 89 

Witness of the Gospels ------ 95 

Jew and Gentile ------- ioi 

Symbolic Interpretation Necessary - - - - 108 



Examples of Symbolism -_-__. 

The Didactic Element --->_. 

The Pauline Quadrilateral _ _ - _ _ 

Addenda : I. Jesus the Lord - - - -. - 

II. Diffused Light of Symbolism - - - 

III. The So-called Pauline Testimony 

IV. The Ektroma _ _ _ _ - 
V. The Gospel Portrait _ - - . 


The Bulwarks of Historicism - - _ - - 177 

EmINUS ---_--.- 182 

COMINUS --_-_-_. 189 

Conclusion -------- 205 

Addenda :I.- - - - - - - - 208 

II. Casting out Demons - - _ - 210 

III. 226 


The Silence of Josephus ------ 230 

The Silence of Tacitus ------ 238 

Other Pagans : Final Remarks - - - - - 251 

Addenda :I. - - - - - - - - 257 

II. 260 




Statistics _..----- 267 

Nature of the Kingdom ------ 270 

Preaching of the Kingdom ----- 275 

Repentance in the Old Testament - - - . 277 

Repentance in the New Testament - - - - 281 

Conclusion -------- 2S8 


Preliminary - - - - - - - -291 

New Testament Use of " Called " - - - - 292 

Conclusion -------- 299 



Form and Meaning of the Word _ - - - 303 

Judas = Jud^.us ------- 309 

Addenda: I.- - - - - - - - 3^7 

II. 321 

Postscript -------- 3^7 

Index of Passages ------- 345 

Index of Names ------- 35° 


p. I, line 3,7^r "deuvicinia" r^ac?"de vicinia " 

P. 4, line 7, for '* interdependent " read " independent " 

P. 17, line 22yfor"Jusus" read '^^ Jesus" 

P. 26, line i6,/or " tuberculosic" t-^ac?" tuberculotic " 

P. 49, last \me, for ^^ gnechische^^ read " griechische'^ 

P. 60, line IS, for " cult of" read ''cult, of" 

P. 62,^ line 18, for "learning, and " read " learning and " 

P. 64, line 3 from below, /or •* Soloman " read " Solomon " 

P. 81, line 20, j'??r " nascitur^^ read " nascetur " 

P. 86, line i8,/^r " wind " read "wing " 

P. 94, line 28, ^r " uaprlpofMai " reac? " fiaprdpo/xat, " 

P. ,, line 36, for " Vanens " read " Vannens " 

P. 103, line 25, for " reasons " read " reason " 

P. 105, footnote, T^r "ania," "ani" read 'ania', 'ani' 

P. 107, last line, for " 2 x 2=4 " read " 2 x 2=411 " 

P. 1 1 1, line 2, footnote, for " certain man " read " certain young man ' 

P. ,, line 3, ,, omit "htm" 

P. 117, line 2g, for " doubly " read " double " 

P. 127, last line, for " mud " read " mid " 

P. 142, line 15, for" ^" read^i'" 

P. 145, line 2j,for " Maschal " read " Mashal " 

P. „ last line, /^r" 115 " r^a^" 116" 

P. 150, line 12, for "capable" read " capahles" 

P. 159, line \,for" ideas " read " idea " 

P. 171, line 2, for "there the " read " there were the " 

P. 172, line 6 from below, y»r " eschatologie " read " eschatologic " 

P. 191, line ig, for " i^^ara raiavroiji" read " e^iffraraL ai5roi;s " 

P. 225, line 9, for " web " read " deck " 

P. 236, line 20, for « human " read " divine " 

P. 237, line 16, for " Hence " read " For " 

P. 242, line 25, for « ot " read " to " 

P. 252, line 4 from below, ^r " Archd,'' read"Arch^" 

P. 304, line 12, /or « ^, and " read " ^ and " 

P. 319, line 2 from below, /or « montaine " read " montane." 


The reader of these inquiries into the source and sense of primitive 
Christianity will not fail to remark that certain matters come up 
repeatedly for discussion. The lines of thought pursued are 
numerous and in general mutually quite independent — wherein 
lies, in fact, in great measure the logical worth of the book, if any 
such it have — and it is not strange that here and there they should 
touch or indeed intersect each other. Naturally such points of 
coincidence are often highly important, and fully deserve the 
emphasis of repetition. Inasmuch as the path of approach has 
much significance in argumentation, and as it seemed well to 
direct the reader's attention again and again to such nodal and 
cardinal points, no attempt has been made, in the interest of 
artistic unity, to reduce these different treatments to a single 
presentation. It would be unwise to secure an esthetic gain by 
a logical loss. 

The author has been at no pains to produce the impression of 
originality ; on the contrary, he has made open acknowledgment 
when conscious of any important indebtedness to others. But he 
feels quite sure that the life of the soul is by no means exhausted 
in consciousness, and that he may owe unwittingly to others, 
especially to Volkmar, more than might at first appear. The 
Marcus of this intrepid truthseeker came to the author's hand 
nearly a generation ago, some twenty years before he began to 
approach his present point of view, when he was sunk in Pauline 
and apocryphal studies, while the ground assumptions of liberal 
criticism wxre still accepted by him as entirely unassailable. It 
was not strange, then, that Volkmar's discourse about Lehr- and 
Sinnhilder passed by without making much impression, without 
exciting secret doubts or questionings. Nearly a quarter-century 
afterwards, when the author's present standpoint had long since been 


fully attained, and in fact along the paths laid out in Der vorchrist- 
liche Jesus, as he was busied with renewed study of the Gospels, 
he was surprised to recognise suddenly that his new interpretations 
were breathing as it were the breath of Volkmar, though he has 
never consulted Marcus to ascertain how close in detail the 
resemblance may be. While, then, what he consciously owes to 
the indefatigable Zuricher is very small, he takes this opportunity 
to avow that his unconscious indebtedness may be much larger. 

But a greater than Volkmar, the noblest and most illustrious 
of the Church Fathers, following not servilely in the footsteps of 
spirits and thinkers perhaps still greater, nearly 1,700 years ago 
affirmed emphatically and repeatedly the imperative necessity of 
a thoroughgoing symbolic exposition of the Gospels. Herewith is 
by no means meant that he rejected their recitals as unhistoric — 
far from it ! — but that a thoroughgoing symbolism cannot be 
denied, that the sources do not contain pure history, that 
acceptance of the accounts at face-value is impossible — on all of 
this it is that Origen insists so earnestly and convincedly. Now, 
however, if the symbolic sense is the main thing, as this Father 
so clearly perceived, then the immediate and manifest corollary 
must deprive the narratives of their seemingly historical content. 
To depict the progress of the Jesus-cult, to represent in narrative 
form the revelation to men of the knowledge of God, as a series 
of highly coloured and dramatically grouped historical incidents — 
that would be picturesque, beautiful, impressive, yea, vividly 
instructive and wholly unexceptionable ; under certain (actual) 
conditions such a procedure was to be recommended uncon- 
ditionally, as alone proper and effective. But to suppose that 
such events, thus full of spiritual significance, did prosaically 
happen would be worse than puerile and ludicrous. For reflection 
can fix itself and dwell on the spiritual content only ixihen the 
historical investiture is recognised as feigned and unreal ; so long 
as this latter is accepted as real and thinkable, so long must it 
reign o'er sense and thought, especially when it is marvellous, and 
so long must the deeper sense be neglected. As a pure symbolism 
the miracle of the loaves and fishes might enforce a profound and 
beautiful doctrine ; as a literal occurrence it could not teach any 
such truth at all, for it would divert and fasten the attention of 



all upon the astounding material prodigy. Hence it is clear that 
Jesus could not have portrayed his teaching in such pictures, that 
in every single case the recognition of a symbolic aim entails the 
surrender of the historical content. It is very hard to believe that 
Origen did not himself admit this obvious consequence, though he 
did not openly proclaim it. 

But while calling attention to this Father's broad recognition 
of symbolism in the Gospels, we need by no means approve of his 
allegorical method as applied to the Old Testament, nor adopt his 
over-refined interpretations of evangelic narratives. Indeed, it 
seems strange at first that he saw in general so distinctly and in 
particular so dimly — a puzzling chiaroscuro. But we must 
, remember that he was sundered by at least two centuries from the 
origin of the Gospel stories, and by a far wider chasm from the 
spirit that shaped them. His was an Hellenic intelligence, prone 
to abstractions, set to interpret the product of a mind at least 
half-Semitic, that busied itself almost exclusively with the concrete. 
Somewhat wanting in historic sense, he could hardly envisage the 
conditions of a distant past, and fell an easy^victim to the super- 
subtlety of his age and his race. 

But it would be a grievous error to attribute his perception of 
the symbolic element itself to any such lack of historic feeling. 
For this element is too patent and prominent to escape even the 
half-opened eye, and is acknowledged in some measure even in 
the materialising patristic and in conservative modern theology. 
Among liberals, Schmiedel and Loisy have perceived and empha- 
sised its frequent presence. In his compendious work, Les 
Avangiles Synoptiques^ epitomising and supplanting whole libraries, 
the latter displays an unmistakable partiality for the adjective 
" symbolique"; and in countless places we read, " le miracle 
figure " or " presage," not only in Luke (the great allegorist, 
according to Loisy), but even in the (reputedly) clumsy, awkward, 
and simple-minded Mark. 

That from the earliest times and in the most uncorrupt Gospel 
narratives, not merely in the miraculous but also in other portions, 
there has always been an extensive and important symbolic element 
cannot, indeed, be doubted. So much at least seems certain. Hence 
arises the unavoidable question : Where shall we draw the boundary- 


line ? How and according to what principles shall we delimit the 
symbolic from the non-symbolic and authentic ? To answer this 
query seems to be the inevitable obligation of the liberal critic. 
Schmiedel has, indeed, met it openly and bravely — with what 
success the reader may judge after reading this volume. But, in 
general, the critics appear to have edged cautiously round — at 
least, not to have given any clear, unambiguous answer. Loisy 
assures us repeatedly that this or that is undoubtedly authentic, 
Harnack also likewise, and Wellhausen less often. But one seeks 
in vain for the grounds of their confident pronouncements. Never 
does their judgment appear determined by objective facts, but 
uniformly by subjective caprice. The critic seems to have thought 
out or formed some "Jesus-shape" for himself — how, no man can 
say — but in every case under the guidance of his own temperament 
and predisposition. His "Jesus-shape" is merely what it seems 
to him under all the circumstances a Jesus should have been. 
With this "Jesus-shape" every single feature of the Gospel-Jesus 
is then carefully compared : if it seems consistent with the 
imagined " shape," it is accepted as probable ; if it seems 
essential, it is declared certain ; if inconsistent, it is rejected 
as improbable, or even impossible. 

But when we ask for the justification of the Shape itself, then, 
alas ! none is given, none has been, none will be, even unto years 
of many generations. Without further ado the critic announces 
Jesus was this, and not that ! But the same can never be proved, 
can never be made probable. The domain of possible individuality 
cannot be defined so narrowly, nor so sharply. No one can say 
whether a mystical dreamer or a strenuous reformer, whether a 
far-seeing theorist or a stout-hearted man of action, was the more 
probable. The most various traits of character may be ascribed 
with equal right to Jesus, compatible and incompatible — yea, even 
though directly contradictory ; nor can we ever prove that some 
were antecedently probable, others improbable, or in truth 
impossible. Even if any one particular type should seem to 
be more likely than any one other, it would still be unlikely in 
comparison with all others possible. It is, in fact, a problem in 
the theory of combinations : In how many ways can you select 71 
things out of r things ? The number of possible solutions is so 


great that the probability of any one^ even the most probable, is 
only vanishingly small ; that is, we must give up the problem as 
practically insoluble, unless the solution be sought along a path 
widely divergent from that hitherto trod. To show such a path, 
and to follow it some distance, is precisely the goal and aim of this 

However, it is only the general idea, the method of exegesis, 
upon which the writer would lay stress. It may well be that in 
many particulars he has gone astray, while none the less some such 
exposition is imperatively required. This latter fact shines even 
through the valiant strivings of Schmiedel and Loisy to prove at 
least some, however quite insignificant, traits of the evangelic 
paintings to be purely historic. The important question is not 
where and in how many details the present writer has erred, but 
where and in what measure he is right, and what are the legitimate 
deductions therefrom. Almost every one of his contentions draws 
with it a long train of results, so that unless they be all repelled 
the consequences may be very serious. 

Furthermore, how is it possible to blink this other notable fact, 
that the historical picture which Harnack, Wellhausen, Loisy, 
Burkitt, would retain or restore is extremely dim and colourless. 
With such vague and dull outlines they fail utterly to arouse our 
admiration, to charm our fancy, to win our love, much more to 
explain the great religious movement in whose focus it is placed 
solely for the sake of the long-desiderated explanation — nay, rather 
it is a Personality scarcely in any respect attractive or impressive, 
but almost repellent, that these critics in their need have conjured 
up as the Founder of Christianity. Harnack cannot point to a 
single incident in the life of Jesus that marks him as an especially 
eminent or lovable man. See chapter iv of his Mission and 
Expansion of Christianity. After a brilliant prologue he comes to 
"Jesus Christ and the World-Mission." But what has he to say 
of the share of Jesus in this world-mission ? In fact, nothing at 
all. We read some high-sounding sentences about the preaching 
of Jesus, how he directed his Gospel exclusively to the Jews — 
which Harnack is at great pains to prove. But all remains hope- 
lessly dark and nebulous. Harnack mentions no new or weighty 
definite conception that Jesus introduced, no new principle of 


conduct that he proposed or proved, no new motive, no new 
inspiration that he breathed into human life — for it had all been 
there already ; nay, more, what is still more significant, no 
expressions of human affection, no words of cheer, of comfort, of 
encouragement in the battle of life, not one single deed of human 
kindness, tenderness, magnanimity, or self-sacrifice. Even though 
there be something in the words or deeds of Jesus that might have 
the appearance at first of modifying these statements, yet, on 
closer scrutiny, it will be found to demand altogether another 
interpretation, to have a bearing dogmatic and not biographic, or 
to be the fiction of a later dramatising fancy. As an example, take 
the genuinely human and supremely noble prayer on the cross 
(Luke xxiii, 34) : " Father, forgive them ; for they know not what 
they do." Here is really a sentiment whereof not only Christen- 
dom but humanity may boast, the like of which we find rarely even 
in the New Testament, before which even the rebel soul of 
Rousseau might tremble and bow. Nevertheless, it is a " Western 
interpolation," as admitted by Westcott and Hort — "we cannot 
doubt that it comes from an extraneous source "; bracketed in i^, 
wanting in B^ Z>, in the Sinaitic-Syriac, and in some old Latin 
witnesses; "beyond all doubt," says Wellhausen, "it is inter- 
polated." Now, if this, the very best of all in the New Testament, 
be an insertion, at once the conclusion leaps into our sight : the 
authors of the Holy Scriptures were well able to invent a Per- 
sonality still greater than that ascribed to Jesus ; and the only 
reason why the figure of Jesus does not tower up more glorious 
still must be one of two — either the historic Jesus was not cast in 
the noblest of moulds, or else the evangelists were not concerned 
particularly to sketch a model human character, but rather to 
depict the progress of a "new doctrine," to represent symbolically 
the triumphant march of the cult of the Jesus. Alas ! Harnack and 
the critical school do not seem to hesitate before this alternative, 
but nerve themselves to accept a Jesus that does not measure up 
to the stature of Socrates, nor even of Aristotle. For there is no 
human action of the Harnackian Jesus that seems to be so 
beautiful or so noble as that related of the Stagirite. (See p. 127.) 
In fact, the Saviour of the Berlin professor never lifts himself 
up to the notion of man as man. From beginning to end he 


remains a stiff-necked Jew, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. He was 
not even a liberal Jew of that day. Essentially he was a severe 
critic of the Pharisees, and only after the apparent failure of his 
message had embittered him did he begin to predict the impend- 
ing judgment on the children of the Kingdom, the rejection of his 
people, the destruction of the temple, and the admission of 
strangers to the table of the Father. Nowadays we should call 
such a preacher an ill-natured, disgruntled dyspeptic. Harnack 
will not hear of it, that Jesus cherished any idea of a world- 
mission. This magnanimous thought, he maintains, never arose 
in the heart of the genuine Jewish prophet, never dwelt in his 
bosom, never formed any part of the primitive tradition. Still, 
it was in the world before Christ and after Christ, only not in the 
cramped horizon of the Saviour ! Naturally, then, Harnack finds 
it quite impossible to insert either the influence or the personality 
of Jesus in his own historical picture. In fact, so far from 
explaining the course of events, the purely human, narrow-hearted 
Jewish preacher makes everything inexplicable and unintelligible. 
He is only a disturbing parenthesis, an isolated eddy in the stream 
of history. 

Splendidly may Harnack sketch the preconditions of the 
world-preaching (chapters i-iii), masterfully delineate its progress 
through the Roman Empire ; but what has the purely human Jesus 
to do therewithal ? We still wait for an answer. Yea, indeed, 
Jesus was certainly the content of that preaching — by no means, 
however, as a man, hut solely as a God. Not only does the human ■ 
Personality play no rdle in this proclamation, but according to 
Harnack it could merely hinder or annul the world-mission, since 
such preaching was neither commanded nor intended by the 
Saviour. Indeed, Harnack bears witness of the Jew-Christians, 
who remained true to the precepts and the example of Jesus, that 
"crushed by the letter of Jesus they died a lingering death." 

Strong and brave words are these, but not too brave nor 
strong. In Harnack's view the Apostles were distinctly superior 
to the purely human Jesus. The disciples were greater than the 
master, the servants than the lord. Nor is this the whole of the 
matter. At one point, at least, Loisy, in harmony with Harnack, 
represents Jesus as beyond measure visionary, as in fact insane. 


He thinks that the Saviour undoubtedly spoke the words, " I will 
destroy this temple, and in three days build it again " (i, 99)* 
which, as Loisy fancies, were borrowed from the real trial and 
(of course) transferred to the purely fictitious trial — by night, 
before Caiaphas (i, 102 ; ii, 599 : " ce proces nocturne, qui sans 
doute n'a pas eu lieu "). Moreover, agreeing with Wellhausen, 
he ascribes to the Saviour a caution that savours unpleasantly of 
cowardice: "As he travelled through Galilee and did not wish 
any one to know it " (Wellhausen). Loisy explains "this incognito " 
by "the anxiety not to attract the attention of Herod" (i, 93). 
In general, in estimating the monumental work of Loisy, one may 
recall his judgment of the net result of the illuminating labour 
of his colleague in Gottingen, " which, if it clears up many a 
detail, certainly does not tend to render more intelligible either 
the life or the death of Jesus." Yes, we may go still further. 
Not only do the works of this trio of representative critics 
contribute naught to our understanding, whether of the life or of 
the death of Jesus, but their marked effect is to void both the 
one and the other of all significance for the well-attested Proto- 
Christian movement, and, what is still worse, to rob the personality 
of the Saviour of all that might inspire love or reverence or even 
admiration. We may smile at the romantic and brilliantly 
coloured painting of Renan, but it is in many ways preferable to 
the dim and scanty pencil-sketching of the later masters. 

Wellhausen has, to be sure, clearly perceived that his historical 
Jesus is only a shadow, and destitute of any religious value, and 
for that very reason almost instantly blurred by the primitive 
community. Very weighty are the words on the last page of his 
" Introduction " : " For what is lost with the Gospel, the historical 
Jesus, as the basis of religion, is only a very doubtful and unsatis- 
factory compensation. But for his death he would never have 
been historical at all. The impression left by his career is due to 
the fact that it was not completed, but was abruptly broken off 
when it had scarcely begun." Similarly Harnack opens the 
important fifth chapter (op, cit.) with the words : "Christ's death 

was mightier than his life it could not shatter the belief in 

him as a messenger sent from God, and thence arose the convic- 
tion of his Resurrection." 


Such is the very best that Liberalism has to offer in explana- 
tion of the origin of the Proto-Christian preaching. Was there 
ever anywhere an all-important phenomenon so insufficiently 
explained ? Not only is the explanation manifestly inadequate, 
but it is even self-contradictory. Hundreds of noble and impres- 
sive persons have suffered sudden, premature, and tragic death, 
but which of them has been instantly preached abroad over the 
world as arisen from the grave, ascended to heaven, and clothed 
with all the might, majesty, and dominion of the Most High? 
Which of them has been forthwith enthroned as Lord and God, 
as Alpha and Omega, as Ruler of the universe and co-equal 
with deity supreme? Nay, the death explains nothing at all. 
Never could it have been " mightier than the life," had not the 
life been unexampled, without any parallel, and beyond all 

The assumed wonderful effect of the death presumes a still 
more wonderful — yea, even miraculous — life ; naught else could 
have crazed and enchanted the disciples in such astounding and 
unheard-of fashion. The people believed on John also as sent 
from God ; apparently the impression of his personality in life was 
quite as deep as that made by Jesus ; his career also was inter- 
rupted just as abruptly ; neither was the belief in him thereby 
shattered. Nevertheless, his most faithful followers never dreamed 
that he was re-risen and ascended to heaven, there to be worshipped, 
seated at the right hand of God. 

Next to the instantaneous proclamation of Jesus Divine afteY 
his supposed death on the malefactor's cross, the most urgent 
riddle of early Christianity is the practically immediate mission to 
the heathen, directly against the supposed precept and precedent 
of Jesus, and without any intelligible origination — a mission that 
became at once world-wide in its extension and its success. As 
is set forth in Der vorchristliche JesuSy the preaching of Paul can 
throw no light on this mystery, for it cannot explain Ananias of 
Damascus, nor Apollos of Alexandria, nor the Twelve at Ephesus, 
nor Aquila and Priscilla at Rome. The fact of the primitive 
worship of Jesus and the fact of the primitive mission to all the 
Gentiles are the two cardinal facts of Proto-Christianity, both of 
which must be explained by any acceptable theory of Christian 

xviii PREFACE 

origins, both of which are explained fully by interpreting Proto- 
Christianity as from the start a more or less concerted movement 
to enlighten the Gentiles, to introduce everywhere the monotheistic 
Jesus-cult, and neither of which has ever been explained in any 
feature by the utmost ingenuity in the manipulation of the liberal 
notion of the purely human Jesus. 

If any one still doubts this, let him read the recent works of 
Wrede and J. Weiss, and the eloquent championship of the latter's 
" eschatological " theory by Schweitzer, whose great work. Von 
Reimarus zu Wrede ("The Quest of the Historical Jesus"), is a 
cemetery of departed hypotheses, including the " eschatological " 
itself. This is not the place to controvert this latter in detail, nor 
is it needed, for Schweitzer has to chide Weiss for shrinking back 
in his later work from his own doctrine, which, in fact, sees in the 
Jesus merely a Messianic agitator whose enthusiasm, as in Loisy's 
representation, verged closely on lunacy. Of all the "Jesus- 
shapes," this seems the least lovely and the most inadequate. It 
explains neither of the two cardinal facts ; on the contrary, it 
makes each tenfold harder to understand than before. The 
eschatological theory is, indeed, the reductio ad ahsiirdum of the 
liberal purely human hypothesis ; while its logical successor, the 
psychopathic theory of Binet-Sangl^ and his peers, is the reductio 
ad nauseam. 

It would seem, then, that the doctrine of the purely human Jesus 
is but shifting sand ; that it affords no firm footing for liberal 
critics, no matter how strongly they may emphasise this or that 
detail as certain or undoubted or even indispensable. All such 
averments have only rhetorical meaning. How empty they are 
logically may be concluded from this circumstance : Their sole 
foundation is the fact that the detail in question agrees with a 
preconceived conception concerning Jesus. Meanwhile not one 
step is taken to justify this conception, to prove it necessary, or to 
show that the incident in question ever really happened. As an 
example, consider the following : Harnack discusses the thanks- 
giving (Matthew xi, 25-30) — manifestly a hymn, an outpouring of 
the Christian consciousness in view of the widespread triumph of 
the Jesus-cult among the Gentiles ; but he holds it is Imaginable 
that his Imagined Jesus could have actually said something of the 


kind, and therefore expresses himself thus: "The saying thus 
contains nothing that can be objected to, and may therefore be 
used as one of the most important sources of our knowledge of 
the personality of our Lord " {The Sayings of Jesus, p. 220). Mark 
well the word "therefore," and the implied major premise: All 
(relevant) Gospel matter containing naught objectionable may be 
used as a source of our knowledge of the personality of Jesus ; that 
is, no Evangelist could and would invent a wholly unobjectionable 
"saying" of Jesus! Why not? Is that really true? What 
could be less objectionable than the prayer on the cross? And 
yet it "is beyond all doubt interpolated." The incaution of this 
major is plainly evident, and yet precisely this dark thread of hasty 
assumption stretches itself through the whole Harnack-Loisy- 
Wellhausen web of argument. Assuredly such a fallacy cannot 
always escape the keen eye of Liberalism ; and no wonder that ■ 
Bousset, in a recent address in Berlin, seemed to be concerned to j 
prepare the temper of his hearers for a complete and final abandon- 
ment, at no distant date, of all forms of historicism. 

In the admirable and priceless book just quoted Harnack calls 
attention in a noteworthy footnote to the fact, which some doubt- 
monger might perchance be tempted to exploit, that this most primi- 
tive source (Q) breaks off before the Passiorv-week ! It may be some 
satisfaction to the historian of dogma to learn that exactly at this 
point his foreboding was true and inspired ; yea, that even before 
it was uttered it had already gone into fulfilment. During more 
than twenty years it had always seemed to the present writer that 
the " Sayings " presented the oldest extant literary form in which 
the Jesus-cult clothed itself, as it gradually took shape among the 
less orthodox Jewish sectaries in the inner religious circles of the 
Dispersion. Even the Marcan symbolism seemed to him to be a 
somewhat later thought, and much of the apparently historical 
looked like a transparent invention, to visualise or dramatise 
" Sayings " already current. To be sure, the counter-proof of 
Wellhausen looks very strong, and his philologic reasoning is 
always instructive, and sometimes confounding ; but it can hardly 
avail to overcome the other total impression permanently. How- 
ever, this interesting question of relative priority seems to entail 
with its answer no especial consequences; perhaps it may not even 


be categorically answerable. Inasmuch as both the " Sayings " 
and the Proto-Marcan source originated gradually — none can say 
in how many years — it may well be, as Jiilicher has conjectured, 
that they are in some measure contemporary, each the older, each 
the younger. In any case, it must strike the careful reader that 
the whole Judaean ministry does not seem to go with the Galilean 
together as one piece, but rather looks like an afterthought, an 
appendix. This feeling has often come over the present writer, 
and years before he had the happiness to read Harnack's book it 
was greatly strengthened by the observation of the fact to which 
Harnack calls attention, that the Logoi-source knows naught of the 
Passion. For a while the importance thereof was not perceived ; 
but later, even at the risk of being dubbed absurd and impertinent, 
the writer was forced to regard the fact as highly significant, since 
it distinctively suggests, even though it may not prove, that the 
personal historical form in which the Jesus-cult is clothed in the 
Gospels has undergone a gradual development. In the first rank 
would seem to have stood the great idea of the Redeemer, the 
Saviour-God. The redemption, the salvation, referred to ignor- 
ance of Gody false worship, idolatry in its myriad forms. It was 
only the Gnosis, the true knowledge of God, that could work the cure. 
And the knowledge could be introduced, communicated, spread 
abroad by a doctrine only. Hence Jesus was at first presented 
as the healing God (in Mark and the Gospel according to Hebrews), 
and perhaps still earlier as the Teacher (in the Logoi-source Q). 
Moreover, the circuit of this healing, teaching activity (two 
equivalent aspects of the same cult) was strictly Galilean — i.e., 
Galilee of the Gentiles was fittingly chosen as the symbolic region, 
where out of the midnight of the shadow of death the glorious 
light of the all-saving cult arose. In time the stately doctrine, 
" the teaching concerning the Jesus," spread itself out, budding 
and putting forth shoots like a noble tree, on which many wild- 
olive branches were engrafted — many related, many unrelated 
propositions were incorporated in the growing doctrinal body, and 
were more or less perfectly assimilated. Among these was the 
old-world notion of a " Dying God," which was fused together 
with the Platonic thought of the crucified Just and the Isaianic 
idea of the vicariously suffering Servant of Jehovah. Meantime 


the growing estrangement of the Jews suggested that Jerusalem, 
and Jerusalem alone, was the place where the pathetic fifth act of this 
drama of " stateliest and most regal argument " should be unrolled. 
Hence arose the Passion-week as the awful though not originally 
intended climax, and naturally the Resurrection as necessary 
epilogue. Accordingly, that Q finds no place for this sublime 
finale need bewilder no one, and accords perfectly with the view 
herein set forth of Proto-Christianity, though hardly, if at all, 
reconcilable with the hitherto prevailing conception. 

In his valuable edition of the Odes of Solomon the unwearied 
Berliner, although properly complaining that an " unauthorised 
dilettante " has "disquieted Christendom," yet rejoices in the fact 
that the Odes were not earlier published, else the disquieter had 
certainly perverted them to his own unholy uses. Visibly a case 
of special providence. This is not the place to discuss these Odes, 
or the question of Christian interpolation ; but it may be allow- 
able to call attention to a syllogism whereby they are forcibly 
coerced into rank among the witnesses for the liberal "Jesusbild." 

Harnack concedes and underscores that these Odes discover 
for us a possible source both of the thought and temper, and also 
of the form of expression, met with in the Johannine Scriptures. 
The great importance of Harris's find is in this respect clear ; in 
fact, in reading the Odes, one seems to be moving in the atmo- 
sphere of the Fourth Gospel. " Even in details," says Harnack, 
"the 'Johannine' seems to be prepared beforehand in these Odes." 
However, he does not find therein the "Jesus as he presents 
himself to us in the purified sources of the Scriptures — i.e.^ the 
historical Jesus." Granted. And what does Harnack conclude 
therefrom? "The historicity and the originality of Jesus appear 
confirmed anew." A remarkable piece of reasoning. Suddenly 
there comes to light a long-vanished psalm-book, which attests 
clearly the existence of a form hitherto unsuspected of intense 
religious individualism in early Christian or pre-Christian times 
(50 B.C. to A.D. 67) in a remote branch of Judaism. On one (the 
Johannine) circle of ideas and conceptions of Jesus this unexpected 
discovery shows an almost blinding light ; on another (the Synoptic) 
it sheds scarcely a single ray ; hence it is inferred that no new light 
can be thrown on this latter ! " The historicity and originality of 


Jesus appear confirmed anew." Consider the syllogism that 
guarantees this conclusion : — 

What is attested in the newly-published manuscript (as the 
thought and feeling of the Johannine Scriptures) cannot be 
accounted as historical or original with the evangelists ; 

The purified Synoptic "Jesus-shape" is not so attested in the 
manuscript ; 

Therefore this shape may be accounted historical and original 
(its "historicity and originality are confirmed anew "). 

From two negative premises a positive conclusion is drawn. 
It is not so written in approved texts on logic. Why, to-morrow 
another psalm-book of some other sect may be unearthed, which 
may illumine the Synoptics quite as brilliantly as these Odes have 
illumined the Johannines. 

This leads to the consideration of Dr. Schechter's very recent 
publication, Fragments of a Zadokite Work. In spite of the great 
learning and ingenuity that he has expended upon this mysterious 
book, its seals do not yet seem to be fully loosed. The discoverer 
himself leaves ample room for differences of opinion. However, 
of one thing we may be sure, that Margoliouth's premature expo- 
sitions, which sought so eagerly to find in the venerable docu- 
ment some confirmation of prevalent prejudices in favour of the 
historicity of Jesus, have hopelessly miscarried. Indeed, it is not 
so easy to take them at all seriously. To identify these Zadokites 
with primitive Christians, even the genuine Jewish, to discover 
Jesus himself in the "Teacher of righteousness" {i.e,^ of exact 
observance of the Law), this indeed calls for courageous criticism. 
Even the Haggadic, much more the Halachic, parts of this 
fragment rebel on almost every page against such exegesis. 
This congregation, in fact, far surpasses even the Pharisees in 
the strictness of its nomism — e,g.^ it is declared (against the 
Rabbinic rule) : " If it (a beast) falls into a pit or a ditch, he shall 

not raise it on the Sabbath And if any person falls into a 

gathering of water or into a place of he shall not bring him up 

by a ladder or a cord or instrument." Truly this is a righteous- 
ness that " exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees," 
and possibly Matthew v, 20 may squint towards something of 
the kind ; but that it proceeded from an historical Jesus or made 

PREFACE xxiii 

itself felt in Proto-Christianity is entirely unthinkable. Mar- 
goliouth's whole interpretation is so evidently biassed and made 
to order that one need dwell on it no longer. With Rabbi 
Marg-olis we may rest confident that the date of the origin of the 
document is definitely pre-Christian {Jewish Coviment^ xxxiii, i8, i). 
We may also accept the judgment of Schechter (p. xxix): "Natur- 
ally all this class of pseudepigrapha is of supreme importance for 
the history of Christianity, which undoubtedly was the consumma- 
tion of all sectarian endeavour preceding it, and must have 
absorbed all the hostile elements arrayed against official Judaism." 

This interesting discovery reveals to us a phase of Jewish 
sectarianism almost the polar opposite of that revealed in the Odes 
of Solomon. Novir, do these two poles form the whole sphere of 
non-official Judaism ? Or shall we rather believe that a rich and 
rank growth flourished in the mid-region ? Certainly this inter- 
mediate realm was ample, and it would ^o against all precedent 
and all sound human understanding not to assume the presence 
therein of intermediate forms. Unless the falcon eye and ruthless 
hand of the old Catholic Church have done their work only too 
well, we may expect future researches to throw light on the 
Synoptics. In any case, even the worst, the lack of such testi- 
monies can militate against the existence of such Proto-Christian 
sects and ideas only in the same sense and degree in which the 
well-known " missing links " disprove the general doctrine of 
descent with modification. 

The author will very gladly learn from any opponent who will 
call his attention to any mistakes in statement of fact or process 
of reasoning in this volume ; for he cannot doubt that such lapses 
are to be found therein, especially in view of the circumstances 
attendant upon both the composition and the publication of his 
critical works. But not even many such could really weaken the 
general structure of thought, just as a wall may still remain firm 
and unshaken in spite of the removal of divers crumbling stones. 
It is the collective judgment that must finally prevail, and it is to 
the formation and justification of the same that the thoughtful 
reader will give his special attention. 

It seems hardly necessary to add that the sharpest polemic 
against the views of distinguished critics by no means implies any 


depreciation jof their abilities or their achievements. Precisely as 
the most p^fect flower of liberal criticism have they been chosen 
as special objects of attack, since they allow the a fortiori 
argument : If they do these things in the green tree, what shall 
be done in the dry? If unexcelled learning and acumen must yet 
leave unsolved nearly all that demands solution, what is there to 
hope from any other efforts along the same lines? Surely the 
fault lies not in the men, but in the methods, in the postulates, 
with which the problem has been approached. Such is the author's 
deepest conviction, and it is exactly the perception of this necessity 
of a new hypothesis that has emboldened him to enter the arena 
against specialists far more erudite than he. For it grows daily 
more manifest that no conceivable keenness or scholarship can 
ever avail to derive the Proto-Christian propaganda from a single 
personal purely human focus, even as neither patience nor knowledge 
nor mathematical adroitness can ever suffice to trisect an angle or 
to square a circle. The present is a case where the battle is not 
to the strong, where the weak may confound the mighty. 

A well-disposed reviewer of Der vorchristliche Jesus has 
expressed the opinion that the book contains the most and the 
main arguments at the command of the author. This volume 
should reveal and correct that error. Let no one suppose, however, 
that the author's quiver is herewith emptied. On the contrary, 
the evidences not yet produced seem to him to be both abundant 
and convincing. 

" Her strongest- winged shaft the muse is nursing still." 

W. B. S. 

New Orleans, April 75-, igi2. 



Longe deuvicinia veritatis erratis qui putatis Deum credi aut meruisse 
noxium aut potuisse terrenum. — Octavius. 


I. When in 1906 Der vorchristliche Jesus was laid before 
the critical public, it was the aim of the author thereby to 
invite the attention of scholars to a body of obscure pheno- 
mena that seemed thitherto to have been undeservedly over- 
looked, and to bear very weighty witness touching the most 
important and the most fascinating as well as the most 
perplexing of all historical problems — the problem of the 
origin of Primitive Christianity. The material therein 
published was in fact only a small fraction of the mass 
already then assembled, and in manuscript, but still not 
quite ready for the press. The difficulty in securing this 
readiness was rather of an artistic than of a critical or 
scientific character. The variety of matter was so great, it 
had been gathered from so many mutually alien and widely 
separated fields of research, that only by constant and extreme 
coercion could it be reduced to anything like organic unity. 
In fact, the author well-nigh despaired of attaining any such 
unity, and had planned and brought far towards completion 
five volumes dealing each with some distinct aspect of the 
matter. Of these the first was "The Pre-Christian Jesus" 
(a kind of reconnaissance in force) ; the second (about half 
written) was to bear some such title as "Gnostic Elements in 
the New Testament" ; the third (also about half written) the 
title "Behind the New Testament"; the fourth (nearly com- 
plete) would deal with the "Pauline Epistles," especially 
Romans ; the fifth (hardly then begun) was to consummate 
the investigation by a treatment of the " Witness of the 


2. Transferred by request in 1906 to a chair of philo- 
sophy, the writer found little time, under the pressure of 
professional duties, to give to the actual further preparation 
of these incomplete volumes. Appointed as Delegate of the 
United States to the Pan-American Scientific Congress held 
at Santiago, Chile, in 1908, he was compelled for many 
months to lay aside critical studies. These were resumed in 
1909, and it is in some measure the results of such later 
studies that are now submitted to the judgment of specialists. 
These results form a first part of the fifth volume already 
mentioned, which it was not the original purpose to print 
until the other volumes had been published. The change 
in the order of publication has been induced by a number 
of circumstances. 

3. In the first place, a careful consideration of all the 
reviews of Der vorchristliche Jesus that came to hand, as 
well as of many private communications, showed clearly 
that the prevailing criticism relied for its support mainly on 
the Gospels, on the "Jesusbild," the personality supposed 
to be delineated there in such bold, vivid, impressive, and 
withal original features as to settle once for all the question 
of its historicity, and to dull the edge of all counter- 
argument that might be drawn from collateral considera- 
tions. It seemed, indeed, that it would almost be love's 
labour lost to carry, however successfully, all the outposts 
of the " liberal " position so long as this central citadel 
remained unattempted. In fact, it might easily be and 
almost certainly would be construed as a sign of conscious 
weakness, of felt inability to meet opponents in their full 
strength, if the writer should any longer delay to join 
battle on their own chosen ground, where, to be sure, the 
final test of argument must in any case be made. 

4. To this view of the matter the writer was particularly 
inclined by the remark of a discreet reviewer, Windisch, in 
the Theologische Rundschau^ xii, 4, 149: ''The author might 
be in the right, if we knew concerning Jesus only the little 
that he has touched in his sketches." Here the author's 
reasonings seem to be definitely rejected, not on their own 
"tneritSy but in view of supposed more extensive and accurate 
knowledge touching Jesus, and such is to be found, if at 


all, only in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospels. 
On reading this deliverance, the writer determined to 
abandon the scheme of publication long fixed in his mind, 
though it still appeared to be scientifically preferable, and to 
proceed at once with what might be called the Evangelic 
argument. The book herewith offered to the public is a 
partial fulfilment of that determination. 

5. The plan then adopted consisted in a minute study, 
verse by verse, of the Gospels, especially the Synoptics, and 
first of all the Gospel of Mark. This study had been carried 
through Mark and half through Matthew, when it was inter- 
rupted and partially suspended by the urgency of profes- 
sional duties. Nevertheless, it was still kept up until the 
echoes of the recent polemic in Germany began to invade 
the writer's ears. Then it seemed wise once more to reform 
plans, not to await the final completion of a verse-by- verse 
exposition of the Gospels, but to gather up some of the 
more important results already reached, and to submit them 
to the judgment of the competent. This course seemed the 
more to be recommended as these results appeared in them- 
selves sufficient to justify very definite and far-reaching con- 
clusions, and unlikely to be seriously modified in general 
outline by still further inquisition, though, of course, leaving 
very many details to be filled in and many interesting and 
important questions to be put and answered. 

6. Such, then, is the genesis of the book that now lies 
before the reader, a book not at all such as lay and still 
lies in the mind of the author, but such as the circumstances 
of the case have moulded it in a measure against his will. 
Herewith is implied no apology for the content of the work, 
but only an historical explanation of its form, so different 
from the cherished conception. 

7. It has already been remarked that the inherent diversity 
of the material under consideration has firmly defied reduc- 
tion to perfect organic unity. Indeed, the author's own 
research in this region has not been like unto a straight- 
trunked towering pine of the North, nor even to some single- 
stemmed though wide-branched evergreen oak of the South ; 
but rather to some banyan tree of India, that sends down 
shoot after shoot and strikes them into the earth wherever 


the soil permits, and so spreads its many-footed growth over 
the whole region round about. Such seems to be the literal 
state of the case, and it is one that critics might do well to 
observe carefully. For it is absolutely essential to any 
proper logical evaluation of the considerations presented in 
this volume and in its predecessor to note that these con- 
siderations are mutually interdependent though mutually 
confirmatory items of evidence. They must be refuted 
singly, it is true, but that is by no means enough. They 
must also be refuted collectively. The rods must be broken 
one by one, and they must also be broken in the compact 
bundle of all. It must be shown that the whole system of 
facts presented, and the whole mode of their conjunction, 
whereby they acquire coherence and interdependence, 
whereby they present themselves to our understanding as a 
thinkable organic unity — that all this internal harmony and 
mutual illumination is unreal and illusory, and that it is only 
when viewed from the opposite pole of opinion, from the 
hypothesis of the mere humanity of Jesus, that this whole 
complexus of facts acquires consistency and transparency, 
and satisfies the reason, whose supreme function it is to 
reduce the facts of the universe to logical order. 

8. Now, it is precisely this duty of appreciation as a whole, 
of striking a collective judgment, that seems so imperative, 
and at the same time so disagreeable, to the prevalent 
criticism. Yet it cannot be postponed nor avoided inde- 
finitely. The mind must accept, sooner or later, one or the 
other of two opposite conceptions ; must accept it as a whole, 
not in this or that detail, and must reject the other as a whole, 
and not merely in this or that particular. 


9. For there is a certain sufficiently well-ascertained body 
of literary-historical Proto-Christian facts, and these must be 
reduced to unity. Chief and supreme among them is the 
fact of the worships the cult^ of the Jesus, This fact is all- 
dominant in the New Testament ; it seems impossible to 
exaggerate its hegemony. The concept of the Jesus, if we 
estimate it merely statistically, far outweighs any other. Its 


only rival, the Christ, is left much overbalanced, and in the 
Gospels is not comparable, appearing almost only as a late 
intruder. The worship of this Being is the very essence of the 
New Religion. Strike out this essence, and there is left very 
little — indeed, hardly anything — that is worth fighting about. 
Eliminate the doctrine of the Jesus, and what would become 
even of the Epistle to the Romans ? It would be reduced to 
a more or less disconnected series of moral, philosophical, 
theological essays, such as two or more Greek-Roman-Judaic 
Stoics might have composed. The golden thread that holds 
them together in unity is a Doctrine of the Jesus. It seems 
needless to enlarge upon what no one, perhaps, would deny — 
the regulative moment of the Jesus and the worship of the 
Jesus for the whole of the New Testament and the whole of 

10. That this Being, this Jesus, is presented in the New 
Testament, and accepted in all following Christian history, 
as a God is evident beyond argument. It is made clear on 
almost every page of the New Testament with all the clearness 
that can belong to human speech. There is no debating with 
anyone that denies it. But it is equally clear that He is also 
presented as a man, as conceived, born, reared, hungering, 
thirsting, speaking, acting, suffering, dying, and buried — 
and then raised again. How, then, are we to conceive this 
Being? The answer of the present Church, of Orthodoxy, is 
unequivocal. We must conceive him precisely as he is 
represented, both as God and also as Man. But suppose 
this be impossible, in spite of all learned subtleties about the 
essential divinity of Humanity (which, of course, in a certain 
sense, may and must be accepted) ? Again the answer of 
Orthodoxy is unequivocal : though we cannot think it, nor 
understand it, yet we must believe it none the less ; and this, 
it is said, is the victory of faith. With this position, so 
highly respectable and venerable, and in a certain measure 
so logical and self-consistent, we have at present nothing to 
do. Right or wrong, for good or for ill, the human spirit 
has gone definitely and finally beyond it, and it is hopeless 
to suppose it will ever retrace its steps. Indeed, it could not 
if it would. The reason of this and the next centuries can 
no more believe in the God-man (in the orthodox sense) than 


it can believe in the geocentric theory of Ptolemy or the 
special creations of Linnaeus. For reason, constituted as it 
now is, the God-man is a contradiction in terms, an incon- 
gruity with which it can have no peace, with which it can 
never be reconciled. The ultramontane is right — to accept 
this fundamental notion is to abjure reason. Some minds 
seem able to do this — minds in which there is a rift running 
all through, a fundamental duality, minds built like ocean 
liners, on the compartmental plan, with no intercommunica- 
tion between compartments. Such minds obey the laws of 
universal reason in all matters but the most important. 
When they unlock their oratory they lock up their laboratory.' 
With intellects so constituted we have no controversy in these 

II. It is only with normally acting intelligence that we 
are here concerned. Such intelligence must resolve the 
antinomy God-man into its constituents ; it must affirm the 
one and therewith deny the other. In view, then, of all the 
undisputed and indisputable facts, it must affirm one of two 
opposite theses : Jesus was a deified man, or The Jesus was 
a humanised God. There is no tertiiim quid. One of these 
alternatives is necessary, the other impossible ; one is true, 
the other is false. Hitherto criticism has with practical 
unanimity assumed the first alternative, and has lavished its 
splendid resources of learning and acumen in the century-old 
attempt to understand the New Testament and primitive 
Christianity from the standpoint of this assumption. It is 
not the writer's intention to review, or to refute, or in any 
way to criticise in detail, any of these elaborate and ingenious 
essays. The notable fact is that, in spite of all the knowledge 
and the constructive talent called into play, none of these 
endeavours has been crowned with success, not one has 

* A letter from one of the brightest ornaments of present British philosophy- 
would indicate that the foregoing is stated too strongly. This scholar regards 
the destruction of the \iheva.\ Jesusbz'Id as complete, saying : " On the negative 

side I am entirely at one with you But I feel through all your polemic the 

presence of a ' neglected alternative.' " This latter is the formula of Chalcedon 
— " very man and very God." Against such a view we shall neither strive nor 
cry, nor let any voice be heard in this book. In another volume it may be 
otherwise. According to B. Russell, learning " to believe that the law of 
contradiction is false " is " a feat which is by no means as difficult as it is 
often supposed to be." 


commanded any general assent, not one has established itself 
for longer than a short time or in more than a narrow circle. 
In this connection the writer may be allowed to quote from 
his own article on New Testament criticism, written in 1904, 
and published in The Americana (Encyclopasdia), 1905 : — 

When so many winged hounds of Zeus thus find that their quarry 
forever eludes them, the suggestion is inevitable that there is 
something radically wrong in their method of pursuit, that in some 
way their finest sense has betrayed them. We hold that the nature 
of their error is now at length an open secret. They have sought to 
explain Christianity as an emanation from a single individual human 
focus, as the reaction upon history and environment of a single 
human personality ; they have sought " to understand Jesus as the 
originating source of Christianity." They have failed, and they must 
forever fail ; for no such explanation is possible, because no such 
origination was real. Over against all such attempts we oppose the 
fact that every day comes to clearer and clearer light, that now 
fliashes continually into evidence around the whole horizon of investi- 
gation ; the fact that was perceived nearly a decade ago, but whose 
effective proclamation called for the publication of a series of prepara- 
tory investigations ; the fact that the genesis of Christianity must be 
sought in the collective consciousness of the first Christian and 
immediately pre-Christian centuries ; that in the Syncretism of that 
epoch of the amalgamation of faiths, when all the currents of 
philosophic and theosophic thought dashed together their waters in 
the vast basin of the Roman circum-Mediterranean empire, was to be 
sought and found the possibility and the actuality of a new faith of 
Universal Humanity that should contain something appealing to the 
head and the heart of all men, from slave to emperor, a faith in which 
there should be no longer male and female, Jew and Greek, bond and 
free, but all should be one by virtue of a common Humanity, of the 
ageless, timeless, spaceless Son of Man. It is as the outcome of this 
Syncretism, as the final efflorescence of the Judaeo-Graeco-Roman 
spirit, of the Asiatic - European soul, that Christianity is wholly 
intelligible and infinitely significant ; the notion that it is an 
individual Palestinian product is the Carthago delenda of New 
Testament criticism. 

12. Under such conditions, in view of the notorious failure 
of the thoroughly tested hypothesis of a merely human 
Jesus, of a deified man, it becomes the unavoidable duty of 
criticism to test with equal care and thoroughness the single 
and exclusive alternative, the counter hypothesis of a divine 
Jesus, of a humanised God. Nor should there be brought to 
this trial any religious feeling or dogmatic prejudice ; neither, 
above all, should it be tainted by any odium theologicum. 


The inquiry should be pursued calmly, dispassionately, with 
scientific caution and accuracy, with no appeal to passion, 
with no resort to rhetoric, according to the rules of the 
syllogism and the formula for Inverse Probability, with firm 
resolution to accept whatever conclusions may eventually be 
recommended, and with absolute confidence not only that the 
truth will ultimately prevail, but that it is also for the highest 
and holiest interests of humanity that it should prevail, 
whatever it may be. We must, in fact, remember the noble 
words of Milton : — 

And now the time In special is, by privilege to write and speak 
what may help to the further discussing of matters in agitation. 
The temple of Janus, with his two controversial faces, might now not 
unsigniticantly be set open. And though all the winds of doctrine 
were let loose to play upon the earth, so truth be in the field, we do 

injuriously to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehood 

grapple ; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open 
encounter ? 

It is, of course, superfluous to argue such self-evident pro- 
positions ; and it would, indeed, seem almost equally super- 
fluous even to state them, had not the recent example of the 
attacks on Professor Drews, and in less measure upon the 
present writer, made clear that there is really great need to 
stress such sentiments with peculiar emphasis. On this 
point one need not dwell. The animus of the polemic 
pamphlets in question is plain enough to such as have read 
them, and to others it were, perhaps, better not revealed. 

13. With the substance of these booklets the present 
writer is in no great measure immediately concerned. The 
main bulk of the refutation goes against the theories of such 
as Robertson, Kalthoff, and Jensen, with whom the writer 
has never united forces, from whom he has persistently held 
his own thought independent and distinct. Not that he 
might not learn much from such scholars and thinkers, but 
that he has preferred not to poach on their preserves ; rather 
to follow his own paths at his own gait and in his own 
manner. Spartam tuam exorna has been his motto. Why 
the critics in question have so preferred to deal with other 
works rather than with Der vorchristliche Jesus is a question 
not without interest, but which he presumes not to answer. 
There is, however, a certain amount of common ground which 


nearly every participant in this controversy must traverse. 
It is hard to avoid speaking of the Personality revealed in the 
Gospels, of the supposed witness of the Pauline Epistles, and 
of the testimonies of profane writers. To these should be 
added the acute argument of Schmiedel touching the Nine 
Pillars, which many years ago, on its first appearance in the 
Encyclopcedia Biblica^ appeared to the writer, as it still 
appears, to be incomparably the most plausible plea ever 
made for the liberal contention. It seems to have figured 
far too little in the present controversy, and accordingly no 
small part of this volume is surrendered to its consideration. 


14. Overshadowing significance attaches in the minds of 
most to the argument from the Evangelical Personality. It 
is this that Von Soden has accented so forcefully. It is this 
to which Harnack makes his appeal. Closely allied there- 
with is the thought that great events of history presuppose 
and imply great historical personalities ; hence it seems to be 
inferred that the origin of Christianity as the greatest of 
historical events implies the greatest of personalities. A 
strange paralogism ! Even if we granted the conclusion, the 
question would still remain. But who was that personality? 
Was it Paul, or Peter, or John, or Mark, or some Great 
Unknown, like the Fourth Evangelist? Or was it, perhaps, 
all of these notable personalities working in more or less 
perfect accord, and producing a total result of which no one, 
nor two, nor three might have been capable? There seems 
to be not the slightest reason for doubting that the Proto- 
Christian period was rich in personality, and in personalities 
of a very marked variety. But there has not yet been pre- 
sented one iota of proof that the Jesus was one of these 
persons. In fact, he does not stand at all in line with any of 
them. Between Jesus and Paul or Peter or John even the 
most distant parallel is absolutely unwarranted. One might 
just as well align Jupiter Stator with Fabius Cunctator. 
Whoever dreamed of worshipping James or John, of praying 
to Peter as Lord, of casting out demons in the name of Luke 
the beloved physician, of preaching that Paul had died for 


men, or that Stephen had risen from the dead, or that Apollos 
had ascended into glory ? It seems superfluously manifest 
that all of these distinguished personalities, the brightness of 
whose distinction we at this distance may only dimly perceive, 
stand entirely out of line with Jesus, with whom to compare 
them would be like comparing a planet with the Newtonian 
law of gravitation. 

15. Such men, be it repeated, were in all probability very 
able and exceptional characters. If we judge them by the 
work they accomplished, we must surely admit they were 
most remarkable. This notability is generally conceded 
willingly enough to Paul, but rather grudgingly to Peter and 
James and John' and the rest — yet without any good reason. 
The notion that these latter were only ignorant Galilean 
fishermen, who merely misunderstood the teachings of Jesus 
and very inadequately reproduced them — this notion is itself 
the gravest misunderstanding, for which there is not the 
faintest shadow of justification. The epistle that goes under 
the name of James is a well-written — indeed, almost learned — 
disquisition. It contains allusions to matters astronomical 
and others (as in i. 17, iii. 6 — wheel of birth — and elsewhere) 
that reveal clearly a cultured intelligence. The letter to the 
Hebrews is plainly the work of a highly-trained intellect not 
guiltless of the graces of literary expression. The Johannines 
proceed manifestly from a circle accustomed to deep musings 
on philosophic and theosophic themes. The Petrines are 
not ignorant of Stoical doctrine. Of the Evangelists, Luke 
has received even exaggerated recognition at the hands of 
eminent critics ; but as a fervid and impassioned declaimer 
and rhetorician he is still notably inferior to Matthew, while 
Mark surpasses all in the rugged strength of his thought and 
the still depth of his symbolism. The fact is that the New 
Testament is a wonderful body of literature, and attests 
unequivocally a high level of mental power and artistic sense 
in its authors. That the Greek is far from classic signifies 
nothing, save that the milieu of its composition was half-Jew, 

* Of course, we attach no weight to these or to any other mere names. It 
is enough that among- the Proto-Christians there were many men who thought 
great thoughts, wrote great writings, and did great deeds— call them what 
you will. 


half-Greek ; that much of it was at least thought, if not 
originally written, in Aramaic ; and that the forms of speech 
were often loaded with ideas beyond what they were able to 

i6. When, now, we pass beyond the apostolic circle, we 
still find men that must have possessed impressive person- 
alities. Consider Simon Magus. It is a stupendous blunder 
to regard him as a mere charlatan. Harnack speaks {D, G., 
I. 233, n, i) appreciatively of his ''attempt to create a 
universal religion of the Most High God." That he belonged 
to the primal Christian influences seems certain. It is 
characteristic of the desperation of the ablest liberal criticism 
that Harnack feels compelled to recognise an influence of 
Jesus (and Paul) on Simon Magus : " He is really a counter- 
part to Jesus, whose activity can no more have been unknown 
to him than was that of Paul." '* We know that out-and-out 
new religious organisations were attempted in the apostolic 
age in Samaria, in the production of which, in all likelihood, 
the tradition and proclamation of Jesus had already exerted 
influence" (p. 233). A strange example of prolepsis. 
According to Acts viii. 5-13, Simon was one of the very 
first converts outside of Jerusalem, in the first year after the 
resurrection, and had already, for a '' long time " previous, 
held sway in Samaria. He was also reputed to be the father 
of heresy ; and, since it was the habit and the interest of the 
Christians never to antedate, but rather to postdate, all 
heresies, we may be sure that the date given in Acts is at 
least not too early, and that Simon's teaching was con- 
siderably pre-Christian. Notice now that he is represented 
as converted at the first preaching of Philip in Samaria, and 
as attaching himself devotedly to Philip. The story of his 
simony is, on its face, a mere invention, like other stories 
of the heresiographers. The fragments preserved from the 
Apophasis that went under his name indicate a deep thinker, 
a kind of pre-Hegelian Hegel, and lead us to believe that we 
behold in them the ruins of a daring and high-aiming religious 
cosmogony. Likewise the sentiments attributed to the most 
ancient Naassenes testify indubitably to bold and compre- 
hensive theosophic speculation. If the systems of these 
primitive Gnostics had reached us in their entirety, and not 


merely in detached bits transmitted and perhaps often dis- 
figured by hostile hands, it seems in the last degree probable 
that we should be compelled to yield them a large tribute of 
respect as earnest religionists and no mean thinkers. 

17. When, now, we descend to the first half of the second 
century, we are confronted by three names of veritable heroes 
of philosophic-religious speculation — Basilides, Valentinus, 
Marcion. It signifies nothing that they were all heretics. 
Such, too, were Bruno and Huss and Luther and Melanchthon 
and Zwingli and Calvin and Knox, and who knows how 
many others? Such, too, at least in a measure, was the 
oceanic Origen. Of the pre-eminence of these three, not to 
mention many others of whom we know, there can be no 
question. With regard to the second, it is enough to read 
the testimony of the Fathers and the judicious appreciation 
by Harnack. The overshadowing pre-eminence of Marcion 
is even more incontestable. On the whole, he seems to have 
been the greatest religious figure of that era. Apparently, 
however, both he and Valentinus were excelled in profundity 
of thought by Basilides, of whom we hear hardly so much, 
most likely because the depths of his thinking were less 
accessible to the search of the heresy-hunters, and because he 
made less appeal to the general intelligence. But it seems 
impossible to read carefully the few fragments that remain of 
his numerous works without feeling oneself in the presence 
of something very like philosophic-religious genius. It is 
a well-known merit of Harnack's Dogmengeschichte that it 
recognises unequivocally the intellectual superiority of the 
Gnostics and their decisive significance for scientific theology : 
" It is beyond doubt that theologic literature had its origin 
among the Gnostics " {p.c. p. 230, n. i). The general result, 
then, is that, in spite of the deplorably fragmentary state of 
the surviving evidence, and in spite of the painful misrepre- 
sentation that meets us at every turn, it is impossible not to 
recognise the two centuries 50 A.C.-150P.C. as extraordinarily 
prolific in commanding religious personalities. There seems, 
indeed, to have been almost a plethora of theosophic genius. 
Nor is there any compelling reason why we should set the 
year 50 A.c. as an upper limit. We might very well throw 
this limit back one hundred years or more, into Maccabean 


times. Information is, indeed, wanting ; but there is no 
improbability in such dating". Moreover, there is no reason 
for supposing that those early thinkers — the Proto-Naassenes, 
for example — were in any way inferior to their successors and 
expounders, such as Paul, Peter and John, Simon, Menander, 
Basilides, Valentinus, Marcion, and the rest. In fact, the 
analogies of history might lead us to believe they surpassed 
all their followers, if not in elaboration of detail, yet at least 
in elemental strength and in boldness of outline. There 
may very well have been some such succession as that of 
^schylus, Sophocles, Euripides, or of Socrates, Plato, 
Aristotle. To the writer's mind, the Old-Christian literature, 
in particular the New Testament, suggests irresistibly vast 
sunken continents of thought, over which the waves of two 
thousand years of oblivion are rolling, with here and there 
grey or green island peaks emerging, a wondrous archi- 

Herewith, then, the contention of Haupt and Harnack 
and their peers, that the new school neglects the great 
historical factor of personality, seems to be completely refuted. ^ 
We do not overlook nor omit this factor ; on the contrary^ 
we insert it in far higher potency than do our opponents. ' 

18. But someone will say that we employ many person- 
alities, whereas there is need of a single all-controlling 
personality. This latter proposition we deny m toto and 
with all emphasis ; and for various reasons, each in itself 
sufficient. It is not true that the great critical events and 
movements of history have been always or even generally 
determined by single personalities ; it has often happened 
that there has been no one all-dominating individuality, but 
that several or even many have conspired in the expression 
of some one over-mastering ideal. Take the case of the 
French Revolution. How many leading spirits, all measur- 
ing up nearly to the same line, not one shooting up into any 
very great elevation either absolutely or relatively ! Not 
until the Revolution was accomplished and had ceased 
wholly to move forward did the wonderful Corsican appear 
and begin to roll it backward. 

19. Here in the New World we celebrate two events as of 
world-historical importance : the Revolution of 1776 and the 


Civil War of 1861-64. In neither of these does any single 
personality tower up in overshadowing proportions. Wash- 
ington and Lincoln were officially most conspicuous, and by 
some are regarded as pre-eminent ; but at most they were 
only slightly taller than numbers of their peers. Consider 
the Renaissance. What a long line of giants march in the 
first rank ! Possibly Leonardo is the most perfect in his 
proportions ; but no one can claim for him that he was the 
ruling spirit. Consider even the case of the great Reforma- 
tion. Luther towers herein conspicuous ; but he was by no 
means without precursors, by no means without peers. 
Indeed, his personality would seem to have been in many ways 
over-estimated. This thought need not be pursued further. 

20. Of course, it is not for an instant denied that great 
single personalities may lie behind and initiate great world- 
historical movements, though they can never do this except 
where the springs are already sety the train laid, and all the 
necessary pre-conditions already arranged in the antecedent 
actually existing historical circumstances of the case ; but 
where such pre-arrangement is already complete, then it is 
not true that a single determinate personality is either 
always necessary or even generally actually present. The 
initiative may and often does actually proceed not from one 
but from many nearly co-equal individualities. 

21. Thia is not nearly all, however. In the case actually 
under consideration there is a high antecedent probability 
that it must have proceeded not from one, but from ma7iy. 
For if it had proceeded from one single personality even half 
so dominant as the prevailing theory supposes Jesus to have 
been, then the movement would have had some very distinct 
and unmistakable unity, some entirely unambiguous imprint 
of this one individuality. Of course, it is true that great 
teachers have been misunderstood in many minor details. 
There are even now several theories as to the central aim of 
the Critique of Pure Reason, Men may perhaps wrangle 
for ever over the interpretation of Plato or of Spinoza. But 
such cases are not nearly parallel to the one in hand. These 
strifes concern matters of detail or else of extreme subtleties 
of thought, where either language was inadequate to exact 
expression, or else the thinker had not himself come clearly 


into the light, or perhaps in the course of his own intellectual 
development had fallen into some inconsistencies such as 
naturally attend upon growth. None of these explanations 
will fit the case in hand. In a ministry that must have 
lasted at most only two or three years there could not have 
been any notable incongruences due to gradual evolution. 
The matters were not metaphysical subtleties hard to think, 
harder to express, easy to misstate and misapprehend. 
Nevertheless, the great patent obtrusive fact is that by 
supposition at least 150 years of unintermittent strife followed 
upon the preaching of this single personality. From the 
very start he would seem to have been understood or mis- 
understood in an endless variety of ways. Nor is it possible 
to detect in his supposed teaching any bond of individuality, 
any stamp of a single incomparable personality. The 
impressive fact, admitted even by the liberal critics them- 
selves, is that Christianity is pre-eminently not single- 
natured, but is above all else syncretic. There is, indeed, a 
clear and unmistakable thread of unity running through the 
whole doctrine, the whole propaganda, which has in fact 
held Christendom together in a kind of unity from that day 
to this — namely, the worship of Jesus as God, the doctrine 
that Jesus was Lord^ hi some way one with Deity. Cut this 
cord of union, and the whole body of doctrine unravels and 
falls to pieces, the whole distinctive structure of our religion 
fades away and vanishes. If Jesus be mere man, then he is 
only one of many ; he takes his position side by side with 
Socrates, Mohammed, and others, and it may be that the 
only reason he seems so grand and so beautiful is because 
he looms upon us from the horizon of history : his form may 
be enlarged and his features softened by the mist and the 
distance. That a system of world-religion should have as 
its permanent distinguishing mark the pre-eminence accorded 
to any mere man seems to be infinitely preposterous. 

22. This, however, is not the main point in mind, which 
is that this dogma, which alone imparts essential and age- 
lasting unity to the Christian teaching, is precisely the 
dogma that the critics themselves cannot attribute to this 
unique teacher. If Jesus were a mere man, we cannot think 
of him as himself believing that he was God or Lord, nor of 


his teaching the same to his disciples. This dogma, then, 
must have been a later accretion to his original doctrine. 
But this doctrine, this worship of the Jesus as divine, is the 
one infrangible bond of unity in the countless variety of 
creeds of Christendom. And this, we repeat, is precisely 
what could not have proceeded from this one Personality ! 

23. Here, then, we are met by a double question : How 
shall we account for this golden thread of union that has 
held together for so many centuries the complex web of 
Christendom ? How shall we account for the infinite and 
immediate lack of unity (this thread excepted) if the teaching 
indeed proceeded from a single incomparable teacher? 

24. Hereto the answers given by the new theory are 
exceedingly simple and entirely satisfactory, while no answer 
ever has been given, and apparently none ever can be given, 
by the older theory, which we here reject. We affirm, namely, 
that the worship of the One God under the name, aspect, or 
person of the Jesus, the Saviour, was the primitive and 
indefectible essence of the primitive preaching and propa- 
ganda. Infinitely though they may have varied from place 
to place and from time to time in various particulars, the 
original secret societies were united in one point — namely, the 
worship of the One God under this name or some nearly 
equivalent name and aspect. In fact, the terms "The 
Nasaree " and " The Saviour " ^ seem to have vied at first 
with "The Jesus"; and there may very well have been — 
and admittedly were — other terms, such as " Barnasha," 
"Baradam," "Son of Man," "Mighty Man," "Man from 
Heaven," "Second Adam," and the like, that were preferred 
here and there. This early multiplicity of designations 
testifies eloquently to the primitive wide-rootedness of the 
cult, and is scarcely at all explicable in terms of the prevailing 
hypothesis. But there were abundant reasons why the name 
Jesus should be the Aaron's rod to swallow up all other 
designations. Its meaning, which was felt to be Saviour, 
was grand, comforting, uplifting. The notion of the 
World - Saviour thrust its roots into the loam of the 
remotest antiquity ; it made powerful appeal to the universal 

* 6 Nafapttios, 6 Swr^p. 


consciousness. A Saviour was then and there, all around the 

The pillar of a people's hope, 

The centre of a world's desire. 

On this point one need not dwell, for the reader may be 
supposed to be familiar with the relative writings of Soltau and 
others, and especially with the compendious treatment of 
Lietzmann in his Der Weltheiland and of Hoyer in his 

25. The word Jesus itself also made special appeal to the 
Jewish consciousness ; for it was practically identical with 
their own Jeshua', now understood by most to mean strictly 
Jah-help, but easily confounded with a similar form J'shu'ah, 
meaning Deliverance^ Saviour, Witness ^ Matthew i, 21. 
Moreover, the initial letter J, so often representing Jah in 
Hebrew words, must have powerfully suggested Jehovah to 
the Jewish consciousness. Hardly less direct was the appeal 
to the Greek consciousness. The word 'lao/xat means I heal; 
the future forms (Ionic and Epic) are 'Irifr-ofxai, Iria-i;), etc. 
The word "Irjcr-tc (genitive 'Iria-uog) means healings and 
'laa-w (genitive Tacr-ovc) was goddess of health and healing. 
The name Jusus i^\^(J-ovq) must then have suggested healing 
to the Greek mind fully as forcibly as Saviour suggests 
saving to the English. Even this was not all, however. The 
name was closely connected in form and sound with the 
divine name lAO, regarded in early Gnostic circles with 
peculiar reverence. It is not necessary to decide whether 
this latter is to be regarded as the equivalent of the tetra- 
gram JHVH^ or as meaning Jah-Alpha-Omega (Rev. i, 8 ; 
xxi, 6 ; xxii, 13 ; cf. Is. xliv, 6). It is enough that in 
Hellenistic early theosophic circles the name was, in approved 
use, a favourite designation of deity. In view of all these 
facts, the triumph of the name Jesus seems entirely natural. 

26. On the other hand, the notable, and even unparalleled, 
diversity of early Christian doctrine seems equally natural, 
and, in fact, almost inevitable, in accord with the new theory 
which is here advocated. If you ask why there were so many 
shades and types of teaching, the answer is, because there 
were so many types of mind active over so wide a region of 
country. The " new doctrine " was necessarily vague in its 


outlines, just as the preaching in Acts is vague. As we shall 
see, it was essentially a protest and insurrection of the 
monotheistic against the polytheistic consciousness ; but this 
protest and insurrection could, and did, take many forms, 
while always substituting for the multiplicity of heathen gods 
the one healing, saving, and protecting God, the Jesus. 

27. This diversity of detail, held together in unity by the 
one all-dominating dogma of the new deity, the Jesus, the 
Christ, is and must be explained in similar fashion even by 
the adherents of the old hypothesis ; the only difference is 
that their explanation is just as forced and artificial as ours is 
ready and natural. For no man can fail to recognise the wide 
interval between Mark and John, between James and 
Hebrews, between Paul and the Apocalyptist. How shall 
we explain them? The answer must be sought in the diverse 
individualities of the men concerned. There is precisely 
where we seek it and find it, and there is nothing to make 
this answer in any way hard to understand ; on the contrary, 
the whole phenomenon appears natural and inevitable in the 
light of that other important fact — the propaganda did not 
issue exclusively from Jerusalem^ but almost simultaneously 
from a number of foci, both geographically and culturally 
distinct, and imparting each its own peculiar local colour. 
Here, then, there seems to be nothing in simplicity and 
naturalness left to be desired. 

28. Altogether different is the case with the elder theory 
of the one all-dominating, all-originating Personality. Here, 
again, it must be held that the discrepancies and contradic- 
tions of the New Testament writings are due to the diverse 
individualities of the writers ; but where, then, do we find 
place left for the one overruling character? This question it 
is absolutely impossible for the critics to answer ; this obstacle 
they can never overcome. By no artifice can they ever make 
clear how the same individuality could have been reflected so 
notably diversely as in Mark and John, for instance ; these 
two stereoscopic views will never fuse into one. Hence it 
has long since become the fashion to reject the latter picture 
entirely, and depend solely on the former ; and of this, to pick 
out a few features, reject all the rest, and then fill in according 
to the caprice of the critic himself. Such a method condemns 



itself from the very outset ; it is irredeemably arbitrary and 
capricious. But even if it were allowed to succeed in dealing 
with the Gospels, it would confront even graver and com- 
plexer difficulties on drawing the other Scriptures into the 
circle of consideration. The problem of reducing the Acts, 
the Paulines, the Apocalypse, the Catholic Epistles, and 
Hebrews to the measure of the Gospels would still remain, 
as it does now remain, utterly insoluble. All of these are a 
unit in teaching the deity of the Jesus, but in nothing else. 
They are practically devoid of all reference to any human 
personality whatever bearing that name. By no stretch of 
the scientific or critical imagination can we discover in the 
minds of any of these authors any dominance or controlling 
memory of the life, teaching, example, or influence, in any 
manner or measure, of a single human personality, the Jesus. 

29. Here, then, the prevalent theory is forced to face a 
contradiction that must annul it in the minds of unbiassed 
reasoners. On the one hand it assumes a personality so 
overwhelming, so unexampled, so inconceivably grand, 
splendid, beautiful, attractive, and ineffaceably impressive 
that with one accord a group of disciples, after a brief season 
of companionship followed by a death between malefactors 
on the cross, are so possessed with memories of this friend 
and teacher that they have multiplied visions of him as risen 
from the dead and ascended into glory and seated on the 
right hand of the Majesty on high. These visions they 
accept as ocular and even tangible facts ; they draw the 
immediate inference that the man they knew so well in all 
the aspects of humanity less than two months before, and 
whom they laid lovingly in the tomb, was really risen there- 
from, had overcome all the powers of death and the grave, 
was really reigning on high in heaven, was really God and 
Lord, henceforth to be worshipped as the Ruler of the 

30. Now, of itself, all this is absolutely unexampled. No 
parallel can be found in all the hoary registers of time. That 
rational men should do this or anything like this, and by 
their preaching should convert a whole highly civilised 
Roman Empire to acceptance of such a farrago of extrava- 
gances, would itself be a miracle beyond all comparison ; nor 


need anyone that accepts this theory hesitate for an instant 
at any wonder of the New Testament : he need not strain 
out the gnat after swallowing the camel. For his own part, 
the writer tried many years, for at least a score, with all the 
help that could be found in the pages of the most consummate 
critics, from Baur to Wrede, from Ewald to Wellhausen, 
from Renan to Schmiedel, to make this theory in some way 
or degree acceptable to the understanding, but only with the 
result of total failure. He had indeed written many hundred 
pages of Pauline interpretation, striving with all the powers 
of exegesis to render this theory intelligible ; but, in spite of 
all and every effort, the inexpugnable absurdity remained and 
mocked with increasing and more unmistakable derision. 
Only then it was that he renounced finally the task foolishly 
begun, seeing that it had already so successfully defied the 
unsurpassed logical energies of Holsten. 

31. Even this, however, does not state the case in its 
wholeness. Not only must this personality have produced 
an impression on the disciples entirely without parallel in 
its intensity, depth, and transformative energy ; not only 
must it, mirabile dictu^ have hallucinated them, turned them 
one and all into missionaries and obsessed them for all their 
following lives with the wildest beliefs imaginable ; not only 
must it have wrought these incredible and impossible effects 
on the associates of a year ; but, mirahilius dictu, it must 
have worked even more astoundingly on an intellect and 
character of the highest order, with whom it never came into 
contact at all — who, in fact, seems to have known nothing 
of it whatever unless by some casual hearsay. For Paul was 
such an intellect and character, and the accepted fact is that 
he preached the Jesus with energy, with enthusiasm, with 
consecration, with success unequalled by any of the alleged 
personal disciples. Yet, admittedly, he was not a personal 
disciple ; he is supposed to have been a persecutor. Here, 
then, is actio in distans, and in the third degree, more intense 
than any immediate working. There is here not the least 
hook on which to hang any shred of personal influence. I 
yield to no man in admiration of the deep-piercing acumen 
of Holsten : he possessed an extraordinary logical faculty, 
the tenth part of which imparted to many a scholar might 


make him a thinker; and yet one cannot conceal from oneself 
the patent fact that all his subtleties are vain in presence of 
the inherent and eternal absurdity of his central thesis. He 
has failed, and where he has failed it is not likely that anyone 
will ever succeed. I hold, then, that the fact of Paulinism 
and the fact of Paul must remain for ever an insoluble enigma 
according to the prevalent theory. It is impossible to under- 
stand the conversion, the activity, and the doctrine of Paul 
in terms of the human personality of the Jesus. 

32. But still there is more to follow. Not only must this 
supposed personality have been hallucinating in its imme- 
diate action, and still more hallucinating in its remote action 
on such as never came under its influence ; but, mira- 
bilissimum dictu, it must have left practically no impression 
at all precisely where its impression was left the deepest. 
Here is the everlasting contradiction already mentioned or 
suggested. For the confounding fact is that the very men 
whom this Person is supposed to have infatuated beyond all 
example and all belief have, in their preaching and in their 
writings, so far as these are delivered and known to us, 
virtually nothing to tell us of the personality by which they 
are ex hypothesi obsessed. Not, indeed, that they make no 
mention of the Jesus. On the contrary, their discourse 
hinges on this mighty concept. But they know virtually 
nothing of his alleged human character. Uniformly they 
present us this Jesus as a divinity, as a dogma, never as a 
life. Where in Acts, or the Epistles, or the Apocalypse are 
we permitted to catch even a faint glimpse of Jesus as a man? 
By supposition the minds of the speakers and writers must 
have been crowded to overflowing with anecdotes and 
incidents and sayings of him who had possessed their minds 
as never have minds been possessed before or since. Jesus 
must have been with them a fixed idea, a veritable mono- 
mania. Not otherwise can we understand their instant 
deification and exaltation of him to the throne of the universe. 
Surely, then, their thoughts would have flowed in the channel 
carved out by their intercourse with him ; their memories 
would have been laden with the priceless experiences of 
Galilee and Jerusalem. Reminiscence on reminiscence would 
have welled up incessantly and formed the burden of their 


speech. There is no escape from this conclusion, unless we 
invert all the known laws of psychology. 

33. But what are the facts in the case? What do we 
meet with in reading these metevangelic scriptures ? A 
virtually absolute dearth of all that we should expect to be 
present in overflowing abundance ! Scarcely a single incident 
or saying, and absolutely not the faintest indication of human 
character whatever !^ We are indeed assured that God sent 
his Son into the world, that he was born of woman, born 
under the law, of seed of David according to flesh, declared 
as Son of God with power according to spirit of holiness 
from resurrection of the dead (whatever such words may 
mean) ; that he was crucified, dead, buried, raised again, 
received up into heaven. Or, as the most ancient formula 
puts it (i Tim. iii, 16) : — 

Confessedly mighty is the mystery of godliness — 
Who was manifested in flesh, Was justified in Spirit, 
Appeared to angels, Was preached among Gentiles, 

Was believed on in the world. Was received up in glory. 

34. We submit it to any fair-minded person : Is this the 
way that one talks of an intimate personal friend, of a sweet, 
noble, incomparable character, of a wise, loving, and bene- 
ficent teacher, of a life full of deeds of kindness, gentleness, 
self-sacrifice? Or is it said naturally and inevitably of an 
unearthly Being, of a Deity, an object of worship and 
adoration, but not of memory, not of personal acquaintance, 
nor of human affection ? 

35. To be sure, we read that ** he of Nazareth traversed 
benefitting and healing those oppressed of demons " ; and we 
also read of the institution of the Lord's Supper, and these 
passages are discussed minutely in their proper place in 
this volume. Both are late accessions to the text, and 
seem only to confirm, and not to shake, the general tenor of 
the testimony of these Scriptures. But even if such were not 
the case, even if we could find no reason for otherwise 
interpreting such isolated scraps of evidence, it would still 
not affect the general logical situation. For what the 

^ It was with this thought that the writer opened the campaign against 
the liberal theology in an article in The Outlook^ New York, November 17, 1900. 


prevalent hypothesis must demand imperatively is not that 
there should be here and there at wide intervals, like oases in 
a desert, two or three, or half-a-dozen, more or less obscure 
references to an historical life of the Jesus ; nay, but that the 
apostolic and immediately post-apostolic literature should 
everywhere blossom like the rose with this life and this 
human character. If such were the case, then we might 
affirm with some degree of confidence that the character in 
question must have been historical, in order to furnish the 
basis for such allusions and reminiscences. But such is as 
far as possible from being the case. It is the general tenor of 
these scriptures that must decide, and as to this there cannot 
be the slightest doubt in the mind of the unbiassed. This 
general tenor gives great dogmatic value to the Death of 
Jesus as a God^ but does not recognise at all the Life of Jesus 
as a Man. . The very few exceptions are trivial, and only 
apparent; but even if they were not trivial, and not merely 
apparent, it would still not matter — they could not weigh 
against the utterly unequivocal general tenor. Many more 
important isolated statements may have been, and confessedly 
have actually been, interpolated into the text, no one knows 
when or how, but the general tenor is unmistakable and 
determinative. The general tenor cannot have been inter- 
polated or corrupted,^ 

36. In view of the extreme importance of this argument, 
it may be well to state it compactly as a 7nodus tollens : If the 
Jesus of the New Testament had been a human personality 
who had so profoundly impressed his companions during his 
life that they became hallucinated immediately after his death, 
and successfully preached him as risen from the dead and 
reigning as supreme God in heaven, then such an astounding 
personality would have possessed the minds and hearts, the 
imagination and the memory, of these disciples, and their 

* Recently an acute lawyer, a master of the theory of evidence, in speaking- 
with the writer on this g-eneral subject, remarked with much emphasis: "A 
lawyer g-oes entirely according- to the general spirit, scope, and intent of a 
document ; he cares nothing for special isolated phrases and sentences. They 
may have gotten in there in a hundred ways, through carelessness of thought 
or expression. The law overrides all such, and goes straight for the general 
purport." This statement may be rather overstrong, but in the main it seems 
to be correct. The lawyer in question made no reference to the matter here 
debated, and has no known sympathy with the writer's views. 


preaching and writings would have abounded in recollections 
of that wondrous life and character, in allusions to his words 
and deeds and in appeals to his authority. But this conse- 
quent is utterly false in the widest manner and in the highest 
degree ; on the contrary, its complete opposite is true. 
Therefore the antecedent is false. Here we have made the 
sharpest issue possible, and we urgently invite the critics to 
try their teeth on this syllogism. 

37. The only possible way of escape from this conclusion, 
which would seem to be the end of controversy, would appear 
to lie open in denying that we have any preaching or writing 
of these friends and companions of the Jesus. But even this 
denial will not in the least avail. Undoubtedly we have some 
reported preachments, and we have some writings. Whether 
these proceed immediately from the first disciples or only 
mediately through the means of disciples of disciples matters 
not. If the preaching, the writing, and, above all, the 
conversation of the primitive disciples abounded in matter 
taken from the life of the Jesus — as they would have done, 
according to the current critical theory ; if the human 
personality of the Jesus dominated the first apostolic genera- 
tion, then this same matter must have passed on — perhaps in 
augmented volume — into the consciousness and teaching of 
the next generation ; this same human personality must have 
towered still higher in the imagination of the disciples of the 
first disciples. Indeed, it is the accepted view that the 
miracle-stories of the Gospels were mere exaggerations by 
the second or third generation of incidents natural enough 
in the narratives of the first generation. To the present 
writer this view seems to be wholly at fault, but its mere 
existence is enough to show that there is no escape from the 
foregoing conditional syllogism in the denial in question and 
the substitution of the post-apostolic for the apostolic age. 
Indeed, it is a profoundly significant fact — with which we 
shall often have to deal — that as we go back to older and 
older representations we find the human element in the 
Jesushild fading visibly away, the divine coming more and 
more conspicuously to the front, until in proto-Mark we 
behold the manifest God ; while, conversely, as we descend 
the stream of time, this same human element comes more and 


more obtrusively to the light, the divine gradually retiring 
relatively, though not absolutely, into the background, until 
finally, in modern sentimentalisations, the divine Jesus, the 
vice-Jehovah of the Jew, the Saviour-God of the Gentile, is 
reduced to a mild-mannered rabbi or a benevolent dervish. 
That such has actually been the course of Gospel evolution 
shall be carefully proved in this volume. 


38. To be sure, it is not for an instant forgotten or dis- 
guised that in this contention there is direct conflict with the 
prevailing view, as represented, for instance, by Schmiedel 
in his Das vierte Evangeliiun^ according to which the simple 
humanity of the Synoptics is most subtly sublimed into 
divinity in the Fourth Gospel. Not for a moment would we 
deny that such criticism has a certain apparent justification. 
However, that justification is only apparent, and arises not 
so much from stressing the divine element in John's Gospel — 
which is undoubtedly present there, though in a peculiar 
Gnostic theosophic fashion different enough from the earlier 
directer concept — as from ignoring or minimising the human 
element, which is consciously and intentionally paraded by 
the Evangelist, and far more from overlooking the divine 
element in the Synoptics, especially in Mark. Precisely at 
this latter point seems to come to light the prime error of 
this liberal criticism, so learned and acute, and otherwise so 
often courageously just in its estimates. In fact, the whole 
theory of Synoptic interpretation calls for thoroughgoing 
revision, for which preparation is already largely and 
effectively made in the frequent concessions that meet us in 
such works as Schmiedel's, already mentioned. How clearly 
does this critic recognise that in the Synoptists there is 
certainly present an important and extensive element of 
symbolism even in the sayings that he recognises as perfectly 
genuine "words of the Lord"! Consider what he says of 
the '' leaven of the Pharisees " and of the answer sent to John 
the Baptist. Repeatedly there forces itself into the mind of 
the critic the inexpugnable perception that it is simply impos- 
sible to understand the Synoptists without admitting that 


much of their speech is pictorial and symbolic, and is merely 
turned into nonsense when it is taken literally. Ai some 
time or other there has intervened a misunderstandings not 
distantly analogous to that far-reaching misunderstanding, 
that widespread disease of language, to which great philo- 
logists would trace back whole systems of mythology. 

39. When did this malady begin to assail the Synoptic 
utterances? It is a question very difficult to answer, perhaps 
impossible. In different minds at different places the attack 
doubtless began at different times. Some robust intellects, like 
the greater Gnostic lights, resisted vigorously and saw clearly 
to the very last. Irenaeus and Tertullian speak of such. With 
others the invasion was early, the resistance weak, and the 
confusion present from almost the very outset. Physicians 
tell us that the tubercle bacillus finds lodgment in nearly 
everyone very early — that we are all more or less tuberculosic. 
But in the great majority the disorder never becomes clinic ; 
the defensive forces of the organism hold the morbid microbes 
in check. In others, alas ! the enemy gets the upper hand 
through this or that contingency ; it may be very early, it 
may be very late, in the life-period of the organism. 

40. Somewhat similar, methinks, is the distemper of 
literalism, of materialising the spiritual, with which all Chris- 
tianity has now lain on the couch of suffering for eighteen 
hundred years, attended by throngs of learned and able 
physicians, who have failed in their prognosis, failed in their 
treatment, failed everywhere, because from the start they 
were wrong in their diagnosis. Now at last the truth hidden 
for so many centuries, dimly divined here and there (but never 
demonstrated) by many superior spirits from time to time 
both in and out of the Church — now at last this irrepressible 
truth shines more and more clearly upon the critical intel- 
ligence, and illumines in streaks the New Testament from 
Matthew to Revelation. But its broad, diffuse light, unbroken 
and undimmed, has yet to be poured over the whole of these 
scriptures, especially over the Synoptics. In the case of 
the Fourth Gospel demonstration is easier. Especially the 
miracles, like the resurrection of Lazarus, the healing of the 
blind man, the restoration of the cripple at the pool, the 
feeding of the thousands, the first sign at Cana — all these 


and others are such obvious symbolisms that it seems well- 
nigh impossible for any enlightened understanding *' in a 
cool hour" to hesitate concerning them. 

41. Nevertheless, though there can be no question about 
the general sense (however much variance as to details), yet 
the question still presses : Where and when did the mis- 
understanding begin ? It is here that Schmiedel seems, 
perhaps, to have expressed himself too forcibly. He declares, 
in spread-type, that John *' believed, in all his accounts of 
miracles^ that it was 7'eal events with which he was dealing ; 
only by way of supplement did they become for him symbols 
of mere thoughts " (p. 88). It appears by no means certain 
— nay, not even probable — that John, being such a one, 
deluded himself in any such measure. On. the contrary, the 
whole artistic scheme and method of his Gospel seems to be 
almost the opposite. The Evangelist had inherited a certain 
body of symbolism, of obviously pictorial doctrine, such as 
that the Jesus-cult gave sight to the blind, cured the cripple, 
raised the dead and corrupting Pagandom to life, cast its net 
about all the 153 nations of the world ; converted the mere 
water of Jewish purifications, rites, and ceremonies into 
vivifying wine of the Spirit ; fed all the souls of believers 
with abounding bread of life and fish of salvation — all this 
was but the common property of the Christian consciousness 
expressed in the familiar phrases of their technical religious 
dialect. These notions he proceeded to work up into elaborate 
narrative. He sought to make them more vivid and impres- 
sive by giving them historic setting and dramatic colouring. 
This it is that constitutes his main contribution to the repre- 
sentation. He by no means invented the spiritual content ; 
this was present from the very first, just as the essence, the 
idea, of a whole man is dynamically present in the microscopic 
germ, the body itself being but the later unfolding and inves- 
titure of that germ — Idea. So the Evangelist has invented 
no idea, no meaning of any miracle or saying ; all this he 
found ready at hand. But he has invented the investiture, 
the historic-dramatic garb in which he has clothed these ideas 
and meanings. 

42. In many cases this seems to be clear as the sun ; in 
others it may appear less evident, most probably because our 


knowledge of the originals from which the Evangelist drew 
is not so full in these cases. Consider the resurrection of 
Lazarus. No one needs to be told that the material event 
is entirely unhistorical ; the evasions of many exegetes are 
merely melancholy and pitiable. But whence comes Lazarus? 
Clearly from the parable in Luke (xvi, 19-31). Here he 
seems to symbolise the poor pagan world, waiting for the 
crumbs to fall from the table of the Jew, rich in the law, the 
prophets, the promises and the oracles of God. The parable 
goes on to say that they who had Moses and the prophets 
would not believe though one (Lazarus) should rise from the 
dead. On this hint the Evangelist speaks. He recognises 
this signal truth of history, the stiff-necked rejection of the 
Jesus by the Semite ; and he thinks it deserves to be thrown 
upon a broad and highly illumined dramatic canvas. Hence 
the whole story. Not for an instant does he deceive himself, 
or intend to deceive others. He is simply obeying a certain 
artistic instinct ; he is pressing a metaphor, and, indeed, 
pressing it rather far. 

43. Again, regard the miracle of Cana. In Mark and 
Matthew, in the primitive doctrine, the presence of the Jesus 
(the parousy of the new cult) had been spoken of as a wedding 
feast, the " new doctrine " as new wine that could not be put 
into old bottles. This hint, too, suffices: it must be elaborated 
into a story, improved at points, and, of course, slightly 
modified. Whatever other ideas could be easily and naturally 
worked up in the same story were also introduced, precisely 
as a painter, while holding fast his main idea, does not hesitate 
to introduce auxiliary figures and incidents upon his canvas, 
if only to fill in and enrich his composition. 

44. It would seem to be almost a gratuitous offence to the 
intelligence of the reader to pursue such illustrations further. 
It should be added, however, that this, the distinctive, though 
not peculiar, method of John, is by no means confined to 
the miracles. It permeates, and even determines, this whole 
Gospel. Incidents and phrases of every kind strewn through 
earlier Gospels and expositions he seizes upon, amplifies, 
magnifies, dramatises at will. Of course, he is not without 
ideas of his own, and he is not slow to modify the given 
material in his own sense, to suit his own purposes, to 


express his own notions ; and he frequently enforces these 
latter by long expositions put into the mouth of Jesus, 
whereby he also guards his reader against any misunder- 
standing of his historisations. But he seems to have builded 
better than he knew, and to have produced a series of dramatic 
pictures so full of details, so rich in situations, and withal 
so lifelike in its characterisations, that, in spite of its obviously 
symbolic and unhistoric nature, it has deceived full fifty 
generations of beholders, who have thought to see in it the 
record of an eye-witness ! " Withdraw the curtain," said 
Zeuxis to his rival, "that I may see the picture"; and 
Parrhasius smiled, for the curtain was the picture. 

45. The twenty-first chapter of John, whether written by 
the same author or not, is certainly in the same spirit, and 
contains another excellent exemplification of the Johannine 
manner, in the account of the miraculous draught of fishes. 
Clearly it harks back to Luke v, 4-10, even as this itself 
harks back to Mark i, 17, Matthew iv, 19, and especially xiii, 47 
(or their originals). But the writer says that, although there 
were so many, the net did not break. But how many? He 
will leave no doubt whatever as to his meaning, so he says 
there were 153 great fishes. Why not 152 or 154? What 
virtue in 153? Augustine, following Origen, saw distinctly 
that this number could not be an accident,' that it must mean 
something ; and he found it to be a binomial coefficient, the 
sum of the natural numbers up to seventeen, and he directs 
his audience to perform the calculation on their fingers. But 
why up to seventeen rather than sixteen or eighteen ? Because 
(he says) there were ten Commandments, and seven was the 
number of the Spirit, as of the Spirits of God, '' decem propter 
legem," '' septem propter Spiritum." Here he seems to lose 
himself in hopeless arbitrariness and artificiality. He might 
as well have added that 153= 17 X 9, and there are nine Muses, 
Meaning there must be in the number, but it must not be 
trivial nor far to seek. On turning back to 2 Chronicles 

* " Numquam hoc Dominus iuberet nisi aliquid significare vellet, quod nobis 
nosse expediret. Quid ergo pro magno poterit ad Jesum Christum pertinere, 
si pisces caperentur aut si non caperentur ? Sed ilia piscatio nostra erat 
significatio " (Serm. 248, i). For this whole observation concerning Augustine 
I must thank the instructive monograph of Professor E. A. Bechtel on Finger 
Counting Among the Romans in the Fourth Century (1909). 


(ii, i6), the matter becomes clear. There it is said that 
" Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of 

Israel an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand 

and six hundred." Now, the word " 'eleph " (" 'alaphim "), 
here correctly rendered thousand (s), means often enough 
tribe (s) or clan (s), and on the basis of the text the Jews 
reckoned 153 as the number of the nations of the Gentiles.^ 
These, then, are the great fishes gathered into the all-embrac- 
ing net of the Church, of the new faith. On this point, it 
seems, there can hardly be any doubt. The numerical corres- 
pondence can scarcely be accidental, and the explanation it 
yields is perfectly simple, natural, and satisfactory.^ 

46. Perhaps no one will be minded to quarrel over the 
six hundred. As not a thousand or tribe, it could not be 
counted as a great fish. De minimis non curat lex ; neither 
does a symbolist. However, it may be gravely suspected 
that the fraction was really in the mind of the writer, else it 
is hard to understand the triple use of " little fish " {6\papiov) 
(xxi, 9, 10, 13), and especially the " great fishes" of verse 11 
— a phrase elsewhere found in Scripture only at Jonah i, 17. 

* This statement rests upon a study made twenty years ago ; but, though 
visualising now very vividly the page of my authority, I cannot recall the 
title of the work and so verify the implied reference. Accordingly, I do not 
now maintain the correctness of the statement, which is retained only because 
it stands in the German edition. It is a well-known fact, which I have else- 
where cited, that the Rabbis commonly regarded 72 or 70 as the number 
of the nations. The whole matter is trivial, for the general meaning of the 
symbolism is transparent. However, it seems to me clear that 153 must have 
been regarded by some as the number of the nations, in order to explain 
153 as the number of species of fish ; for surely this latter number must be 
significant, and whence could it come but from the passage in Chronicles ? 

^ In all ages it has been felt that the number must be explained, but all 
other explanations seem forced or fanciful. Thus Cyril of Alexandria sees in 
it a symbol of the Church (100 for Gentiles, 50 for Jews) and the Trinity ! 
That the number in some way imaged pagandom was very early perceived, 
and seems to have given rise to the notion, attributed by Jerome to the Cilician 
poet Oppian and others, that there were just 153 species of fish. Volkmar 
(Uimmelf. Mose, 62) and Keim (Jesus von Nazara, III, 564), following Egli, 
must, of course, have another opinion, and sum the letters of Shimeon (71), 
Bar (22), Jonah (31), Kepha (29), and of Shimeon (71), Jochanna (53), 
Kepha (29). Still otherwise, Eisler, in The Quest (January, 191 1). But what 
sense in any such gematria ? Only the interpretation of Hengstenberg (II, 336) 
sets the mind at rest. However, for the purposes of this argument it is quite 
indifferent what symbolic interpretation be adopted ; it is important only that 
some such interpretation is necessary ; the literal interpretation is banal and 
ludicrous. True, Godet is still content therewith ; but this fact merely registers 
the declension from Augustine. 



47. Returning now to the contentions of Professor 
Schmiedel, we note that he raises the question ** whether 
John held the miracle of loaves to have been an actual event." 
If so, then certainly '' erroneously." " But inasmuch as there 
had been a time when it was still known that it was not an 
actual event, it is not entirely unthinkable that John also had 
inherited this perception from that time" (p. 84). This seems 
not only '' not entirely unthinkable," but, in view of the 
thoroughly self-conscious method of the Evangelist, as just 
illustrated, it seems positively necessary, and the contradic- 
tory unthinkable. Strangely, however. Professor Schmiedel 
adds : " On the other hand, however, this, again, is scarcely 
probable, since the Synoptists in any case no longer had any 
such perception, and John wrote after them and derived from 
them." But here must be placed more than one question 
mark. Very possibly, in some parts of the Synoptists, the 
original correct view of all these incidents as symbols has 
been lost ; but in other parts it is still found distinctly pre- 
served ; in others it may be doubtful. So, too, the fact that 
John wrote later proves nothing, as we have already seen. 
In more enlightened Gnostic circles the original symbolic 
sense of the Gospel narratives was long recognised ; and, as 
we have seen, traces of it may be found even in Jerome and 
Augustine. Thus one of the most patent of all symbols is 
found in the healing of the withered hand, on the Sabbath, 
in the Synagogue. Manifestly the man is Jewish Humanity, 
lamed by the letter of Jewish law and tradition, but restored 
to strength and power for good by the emancipating cult of 
the Jesus. So clear is this that even Jerome could not fail to 
see it. In commentary on the Matthaean parallel, he says : 
" Up to the advent of the Saviour, dry was the hand in the 
Synagogue of the Jews, and works of God were not done 
therein ; after he came to earth, the right hand was returned 
to the Jews that believed on the apostles, and was restored to 
service." Just at this point we think that Schmiedel has 
hardly done the Synoptists justice. He seems to have 
minimised unduly their consciousness of the symbolic nature 


of their narratives. We suspect they saw matters far more 
clearly than he thinks, though we by no means would say 
there has been no such misunderstanding crystallised in the 

48. This, however, is not essential ; whether the Evan- 
gelists or their successors misunderstood is comparatively 
unimportant. The weighty fact, distinctly admitted and even 
accented by Schmiedel, is that soinehody fnisunderstood : that 
original symbolism has been misconstrued into history.^ Here 
is the very inmost nerve and core of this book and the exegetic 
theory it sets forth. We are glad to find such recognition, 
at least partial, of its correctness by such as Schmiedel, who, 
of course, represents many. His great predecessor, Volkmar, 
has made much of Sinnbilder. My own thoughts on the 
subject have been originated and developed entirely indepen- 
dently of Volkmar even, who, I am free to admit, has 
anticipated them at a number of points, as above, in explaining 
the withered hand {Marcus 206, R.J, 224). But Volkmar and 
Schmiedel and the rest are very far from pressing this just 
recognition to its logical issue. They have no doubt what- 
ever that Jesus actually lived and spake ; that his sayings 
were misunderstood, and hence the immense overgrowth of 
legend and thaumaturgy. Moreover, Schmiedel is convinced 
that such a story as that of Lazarus was in the first place 
actually misunderstood, and under that misunderstanding 
actually elaborated into the Johannine account. He would, 
in fact, relieve the Evangelist from the reproach of having 
invented the whole story ; though he questions whether it 
need really be a reproach, on assuming that the resurrection 
was really " handed down " to him as a fact, some person — 
perhaps a woman ! — having misunderstood the symbolic 
statement that Lazarus really arose, but still the Jews dis- 
believed. To our mind, this view, while right at so many 
points, is yet in its entirety incredible, for it reduces John to 
a mere cipher, whereas he was a deep thinker and a great 
literary artist, and it overlooks the intense self-consciousness 

^ That such misconstructions characterised early Christian thinking is well- 
known and sometimes frankly recognised. Says Conybeare {Myth^ Magic, 
and Morals^ p. 231): "Here we see turned into incident an allegory often 
employed by Philo." And again : " What is metaphor and allegory in Philo 
was turned into history by the Christians." 


that his Gospel betrays in almost every verse. The central 
thought he did, indeed, take from Luke ; the elaboration 
appears wholly and consciously his own. 

49. But the main point of difference withSchmiedel concerns 
the nine pillars — a matter so important, as already observed, 
that in this book there is dedicated to it an entire chapter. 
Only one observation remains here to add — namely, that 
Schmiedel rightly recognises that the question of these pillars 
is a question of the standing or the falling of the whole 
modern critical theory of the purely human Jesus. " On the 
other hand, it is only such passages that give us surety that we 
may rely upon the Gospels in which they occur — i.e,^ upon the 
first three — at least in some measure. Were such passages 
wholly wanting, it would be hard to make head against the 
contention that the Gospels showed us everywhere only the 
picture of a saint painted on a background of gold ; and 
we could, therefore, by no means ever know how Jesus 
had in reality appeared — nay, perhaps, whether, indeed, 
he had ever lived at all" (p. 17). We shall see these 
seeming pillars crumble — that " such passages " are '' wholly 

50. It has been noted that it is very emphatically held by 
the school against which these pages are levelled that the 
Jesus spoke in pictures that were then misunderstood. The 
proof of this mode of utterance (though not, of course, of any 
literal speech of Jesus) lies open on nearly every page of the 
Gospels, according to which the parable was the favourite 
form of his speaking. The words of Mark (iv, 33, 34), " And 
with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as 
they were able to hear it ; and without a parable spake he 
not unto them," cannot be too strongly emphasised. Here is 
unequivocal testimony that the primitive teaching was exclu- 
sively in symbols, and the significance of this fact is beyond 
estimation. For why was this earliest teaching thus clothed 
in symbols? To make it intelligible? Assuredly not ! It 
is distinctly said that it had to be explained privately to the 
disciples (Mark iv, 34), and that it was to keep the multitude 
from understanding it. ** Unto you is given the mystery of 
the kingdom of God : but unto them that are without, all 
things are done in parables : that seeing they may see, and 


not perceive"; etc' It appears hardly possible for language to 
be clearer. Here seems to be described a secret cult of a secret 
society ; they understand each other as they speak in 
symbols, but it remains a mystery and incomprehensible to 
*' those without" — to all but initiates, members of the 
kingdom of God. 


51. Herewith there is laid bare not only the fact of the 
practically exclusive or at least prevailing use of symbols in 
the early cult, but also its reason as well : // was the dialect of 
a secret order, intentionally unintelligible to outsiders. There 
seems to be no other possible interpretation of this unam- 
biguous passage. What says the orientalist, Wellhausen? 
Evidently he is bewildered ; verse 10 (Mark iv) is an utter 
puzzle to him, and from his standpoint most naturally. 

"That would not agree with iv, 33, 36." ''That is hardly 

possible." '' Finally, the plural rag 7rapa[5oXag [the parables] 

can scarcely be understood at this point." Commenting on 
iv, II, 12, he says: "A parable serves indeed primarily to 
visualise some higher truth by means of something more 
familiar. Since, however, the point must be sought and 
found, it serves also as well to excite attention and reflection 
as to put them to the test. That Jesus employed it for this 
purpose, just like Isaiah and other teachers, there can be no 
doubt. However, this is still not the esoterism that is 
implied in iv, 11, 12, and halfway also in iv, 33, 34. This 
esoterism is not merely excluded by iv, 21, but it also con- 
tradicts even the sense of the first parable ; they all under- 
stand the word, but they take it in very unequal measure home 
to their hearts. Not even to mention the compassion of 
Jesus for the o)(Xoi [multitudes], which is elsewhere so 
conspicuous." These are words of gold, worth remembering 
by every student of the Gospels. They characterise and 
illustrate most admirably the spirit and procedure of the 
critical school. Note first that the real object of the parable, 
as given by Mark, is quite overlooked, and instead thereof 

* Mk. iv. II, Mt, xlii. ii, Luke viii. lo. 


another entirely different object is assumed. Why ? Only 
because it seems natural that Jesus would act like Isaiah and 
others ! Then it is declared that he did so ! An a priori 
concept of the Jesus is formed, and then it is held beyond all 
doubt that he lived up to that concept ! What may not be 
proved by this method? Of course, Wellhausen is perfectly 
honest, and will not deny the obvious and necessary sense of 
verses 11, 12, 33, 34. He concedes it, but only in one word — 
" esoterism " — and then rejects it utterly. Why ? Because he 
thinks it is excluded by verse 21, contradicts the sense of the 
first parable, and does not consist with the compassion of 
Jesus for the multitudes ! Suppose all this were correct — 
what reason would it be for rejecting the obvious sense of the 
four verses ? Why not just as well accept the four verses and 
reject the three reasons? The only answer is that Well- 
hausen must maintain his concept of the Jesus at all hazards ; 
he accepts what he can reconcile therewith, he must reject 
what he cannot so reconcile. Hence he must and does reject 
the four verses. But would it not be far better to reject the 
concept? Methinks so, and this book shall prove it. 

52. Meantime, what about the three reasons? Are they 
valid as against the four verses? Very far from it. The 
first is that the "esoterism" of the verse is excluded by 
verse 21 ; let us add verse 22, and it becomes clear that, so 
far from being excluded, it is necessarily implied by these 
verses 21, 22 : "Is the lamp brought to be put under the 
bushel, or under the bed, and not to be put on the stand? 
For there is nothing hid save that it should be manifested ; 
neither was anything made secret but that it should come to 
light. If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear." Could 
there be a plainer declaration that the primitive teaching was 
secret, that subsequently the teaching was to be made public ? 
What other possible meaning can attach to such words as 
hid and made secret^ manifested s-nd come to light? The refer- 
ence of verse 21 is also palpable : the Jesus doctrine is the 
lamp that is now to be put upon the stand to enlighten the 
world. Of course, the cult was not intended to remain, and 
did not, in fact, remain secret ; it was at length brought into 
the open ; the writer of these verses is evidently defending 
this publication, which had perhaps been criticised by some 


of the more cautious as premature. Mark also the oracle, 
"If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.'* This points 
unerringly to a secret lore, clothed in words unintelligible to 
the outsider, but vocal to the instructor. It was like the 
Masonic grip, which only the Mason can recognise. The 
words mean simply only members understand. The follow- 
ing verses 24-34 confirm the foregoing at every point. They 
all point more or less directly at the same great fact, that the 
primitive teaching was secret and was intelligible only to 
initiates, yet that it was never meant to be so permanently, 
but only until the time was ripe to proclaim it openly to the 
world. So far, then, from contradicting verses 11, 12, as 
Wellhausen thinks, the following verses confirm them fully. 
53. But Wellhausen holds that verses 11, 12 contradict 
the sense of the great first parable, according to which he 
thinks that "all understand the word, but take it very 
differently to heart." If, indeed, all understood it then, they 
were certainly far wiser than men are now. But it is not said 
that all understood the word ; nothing like it is said ; nothing 
is said whatever about understanding. The distinction Well- 
hausen makes between understanding and "enhearting" the 
word is foreign to the text and to the thought of the parabolist. 
" 'T were to consider too curiously, to consider so. " Moreover, 
this interpretation is itself comparatively late ; we have no 
reason to put it in line with the parable itself. Even if there 
were a contradiction, it would not break nor set aside the 
obvious meaning of verses 11, 12, for it would arise merely 
from the addition of another scribe, who need not have been 
in accord with the first. On the whole subject of this chiefest 
of the parables the reader is referred to the essay " The Sower 
Sows the Logos," in Der vorchristliche Jesus ^ where the older 
form of the parable is restored, and it is shown that the Logos 
was by no means the preached word, but the Spermatic Logos 
of ancient Stoic and Jewish philosophy, and that the parable 
was originally an allegory of Creation. Matthew hints very 
broadly at the new form and significance given the old Mashal 
in saying (xiii, 52), '^Therefore every scribe discipled for the 
kingdom of heaven is like unto a man, a householder, who 
brings forth out of his treasure things new and things old" — 
a most instructive verse, from which it would clearly appear 


that this instruction in parables, in the secret dialect of the 
''new doctrine," was a regular part of the discipling for the 
kingdom of heaven ; and this latter can be nothing (in New 
Testament usage) but another name for the secret organisation 
itself, destined to embrace the whole earth converted to the 
knowledge and worship of the One God. 

54. Lastly, Wellhausen finds the admitted esoterism of 
verses 11, 12, 33, 34 at variance with the compassion of Jesus 
for the multitudes (6x^01, though Mark uses always — unless x, i 
— the singular, oxXoc, multitude). Well, what of it? Must 
we, therefore, reject or discredit these verses? Assuredly 
not. Wellhausen seems to think that Jesus could not have 
taught in parables unintelligible to the people, and to be 
afterwards explained to the disciples, because that would not 
have shown his compassion. Yet Ms is precisely what he did, 
unless we discredit not merely these verses, but the whole 
story — yea, the whole Gospel. For the parables are a fact, 
and since they have certainly puzzled the finest intellects of 
Christendom, from Origen and earlier to Julicher, it is simply 
certain that they could not have cleared up matters for the 
peasantry of Galilee. The parable — the parable not under- 
stood by the multitude — is far more strongly attested than the 
compassion, and it is purely arbitrary to yield up the former 
in favour of the latter. Besides, the actual existence in the 
text of the explanation of the parable proves incontestably 
that it was originally conceived as a riddle by no means easy 
to interpret — in fact, impossible even for disciples unaided. 

55. But does the compassion of which the Jesus-biographers 
make so very much really contradict the esoterism ? Not in 
the least, save only in the critic's imagination. A close study 
of this compassion shows that it is always a divine, and not a 
human, attribute ascribed to the Jesus : it is the compassion 
of the new Jehovah, the healing divinity, for the multitude, 
the mass of humanity, idolatrous pagandom ignorant of the 
true God. This is clearly shown in the Greek word by which it 
is uniformlyexpressed — aTT\a^xviX,o\iai — which word Hellenises 
the Hebrew oni (viscera, in plural), which is regularly and 
almost exclusively used in the Old Testament of Jehovah, 
just as the Greek equivalent is used specifically of the Jesus 
or the Lord. Never do we find tXecw (though such a Gospel 


favourite) used of the Jesus ; never crujLi7raor;5(w, which would 
seem very natural ; never olKTEipo); never juLeTpioTraOad) — only this 
most peculiar (nrXajxviZoiuLai, which itself almost needs an inter- 
preter, and for the obvious reason just given. What, then, 
is meant by this divine compassion ? Plainly, it is the pity of 
God upon the heathen worlds because of its polytheism, its 
straying afar from the worship of the true Deity. It is 
precisely the same pity that is ascribed to Jesus in the ancient 
pre-Christian Naassene Hymn quoted in Der vorchristliche 
Jesus (pp. 31, 32). It was exactly to save the pagan multitude 
from idolatry that Jesus came into the world — that the Jesus- 
cult (in the hymn called the Gnosis) was instituted and 
propagated.' Such is also the Gospel idea, as is clearly 
expressed in Mark vi, 34 and Matthew ix, 36 : ** He had 
compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having 
a shepherd : and he began to teach them many things." To 
suppose that a human Jesus actually beheld great multitudes 
following him, and pitied them as sheep scattered and torn, 
and then began to teach them many things^ is unspeakably 
absurd. Manifestly, it was spiritual error and wandering 
from which they were suffering, and this was to be, and 
could be, corrected only by teaching. Elsewhere and fre- 
quently these same multitudes are represented as over- 
whelmed with all manner of bodily disease, "and he healed 
them all " (Matthew xii, 15). Clearly, such a state of virtually 
universal physical invalidism is wholly impossible. Clearly, 
the condition of the multitude in one case must be practically 
the same as in the other : if in Mark vi, 34 he expressed his 
compassion by teaching them^ in Matthew xii, 15 he must 
have done the like also. Every index, then, points to the 
fact that it was spiritual maladies, and only spiritual, that he 
was healing, and healing by the "new doctrine." It was 

' As late as Lactantius (a.d. 300) this was distinctly felt and avowed : "For 
when God saw that wickedness and cults of false g-ods had so prevailed through- 
out all lands that even his name was almost effaced from the memory of men 
(seeing that the Jews also, to whom alone the secret of God had been entrusted, 
forsaking- the living God, ensnared by the deceits of demons, had turned aside 
to worshipping imag-es, and would not, though rebuked by prophets, return to 
God), he sent hfs Son [Prince of Angels] as legate to men, that he might 
convert them from vain and impious cults unto knowledge and worship of the 
true God " {Div, Instit. iv. 14). That Lactantius regarded the " Son " as a 
mid-being between man and the Highest God is irrelevant. 


spiritual blindness, deafness, lameness, leprosy, death, that 
he overcame, and all in the same way — by preaching the 
Gospel to the poor (the Gentiles). Here, then, is the full 
and satisfactory explanation of the much-misunderstood com- 
passion of the Jesus, which in no wise opposes the esoterism 
of the primitive cult. There was no lack of sympathy 
in the early secrecy ; it was in the main a prudential 
measure, well enough justified, but intended to be only 

56. The objections of the Gottingen critic are, then, 
one and all, invalid at every point ; they are completely 
vitiated by a false notion of the humanity of the Jesus. 
Moreover, they are bound up inextricably with that notion, 
and when they fall the notion itself goes down with them. 
For notice that the esoterism, the primitive secrecy of the 
cult, is unescapably involved in the four verses 11, 12, 33, 34, 
as Wellhausen himself admits. He finds himself driven to 
practical rejection of these verses, for the reasons we have 
examined. But none of these reasons are valid, and therefore 
the verses, and therewith the esoterism, the cult-secrecy, 
must stand. But such esoterism does flatly contradict the 
Jesus-character of the critics, which is thereby shown to be 
only caricature. As the logician of Marburg has so power- 
fully put it : '* This Either-Or goes deep : either the Evan- 
gelists or Jesus." With perfect consistency and admirable 
honesty, he flatly rejects the Evangelists, as Wellhausen does, 
and declares : " He who places Jesus higher, who will not 
pluck out the diamond from his imperishable crown of 
honour,' he will break off a pebble from the bulwark of 
tradition and confess that the aim of the teaching in parables, 
in spite of Mark and the other Evangelists, is still simpler 
than the teaching itself" {^Die Gleichnissreden Jesu^ I. 148). 

* In view of the indisputable fact that the critical humanisers of the Jesus 
cannot at all agree upon the most essential features of the " Jesusbild," it 
seems impossible at this point not to recall the famous lines of Milton : — 

" The other shape, 
If shape it might be call'd, that shape had none 
Disting-uishable in member, joint, or limb, 
Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd, 

For each seem'd either ; 

what seem'd his head 

The likeness of a kingly crown had on." 


57. This seems to be one of the most important passages 
in modern criticism. The expositor of parables here openly 
admits that the liberal criticism at this most vital point must 
defy (trotz) Mark and the other Evangelists ; he avows, in 
eloquent terms, that the dilemma is before us : either the 
Evangelists or Jesus ; and he accepts the latter, rejecting the 
former. Yes, if we had to choose, there being no third 
choice, we should certainly prefer Jesus to the Evangelists — 
only what Jesus ? Surely not the Jesus of the Evangelists 
themselves ; in rejecting them you reject the Jesus they 
offer. No, it is not the Jesus of the Evangelists ; it is the 
Jesus-figure of the liberal critics that stands opposed to the 

Evangelists in Julicher's dilemma. This latter is a pure, 
noble, beautiful man — nothing else, nothing more. We 
admire it greatly, but we must at the same time recognise 
that it is not the Jesus ; it is only " a liberal Jesus-idea." It 
is a mere chimera, a creature of fancy, not really thinkable, 
and wholly destitute of historic validity or justification. 
Without hesitancy we must reject this Jesus-figure, but not 
therewith do we reject Jesus, On the contrary, we substitute 
for Julicher's dilemma a single lemma: we affirm and main- 
tain that the only real Jesus is the Jesus of the Evangelists, 
tho, purely divine Jesus ^ who in the Gospels has ''cast about 
him the shining semblance of a reverend man." 

Let it, then, be repeated, with emphasis that can never 
be excessive, that these two representative liberal critics have 
here admitted unequivocally the final irreconcilability of their 
theory of the human Jesus with the fundamental New Testa- 
ment fact of the teaching in parables. On the other hand, 
the theory of the divine Jesus and of his pre-Christian secret 
cult harmonises with this fact perfectly, and explains it com- 

58. On the basis, then, of this passage alone we may con- 
fidently affirm the primitive secrecy of the Jesus-cult. But 
it is very far from being alone. Over a score of times do we 
find reference to secrecy and hiding of something, the most 
of which can hardly refer to aught else than the primitive 
esoterism that is admittedly present in Mark iv, 11, 12, 
33, 34. Of course, it is quite impossible to treat these 
passages in detail in this connection. Besides these there 


are many other passages of similar implication. The 
word mystery (that which is known only to initiates) occurs 
twenty-seven times in the New Testament, especially often 
in I Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, Revelation. It 
seems impossible for it to refer to anything less than secret 
knowledge, hidden lore, though the reference may often be 
to something more included in this. The Apostle says 
(i Cor. ii, 6, 7) : ** But we speak wisdom among the perfect"; 
" But we speak God's wisdom in mystery, the concealed 
wisdom, which God foreordained before the seons unto our 
glory, which none of the archons of this seon knew ; for if 
they had known they had not crucified the Lord of Glory." 
We ask, with all possible directness and emphasis. Can it 
then be that a secret doctrine is not here in the mind of the 
epistolist? Assuredly not! Consider the words mystery^ 
the concealed wisdom^ and, most of all, the word perfect. 
The Greek term T£kzioq cannot have reference to moral or 
spiritual perfection ; surely no one will contend that there 
was such a class among Paul's converts, unto whom he dis- 
coursed this concealed wisdom in a mystery. The rlXetoc or 
perfect was one that had reached the rcXoc or end, that had 
completed the whole course of instruction in this secret lore ; 
as one says of a Mason, that he has taken all the degrees ; he 
might almost be termed a graduate. So Upa riXsia are sacri- 
fices perfect or performed with all the rites (Thuc. v, 47). It 
is (as it were) a graduate course that the epistolist has in 
mind. Moreover, we know that these " perfects " formed, 
among the Gnostics, a class of whom there is frequent talk 
in the heresiographers. 

59. Furthermore, this passage seems to hint at still 
deeper matters, which cannot here be adequately discussed. 
Can it be that the authorities in Jerusalem are meant by *'the 
archons of this seon that are coming to naught"? Improb- 
ably, as Schmiedel has clearly seen. They are rather the 
archons or kin to the archons so conspicuous in Gnostic 
cosmic theory. We may understand the crucifixion of 
Jesus, but who can understand the crucifixion (by these 
archons) of the Lord of Glory? Surely not Calvary nor any 
earthly mount, but the supernal hills of heaven, are in the 
lofty thought of the author. Consider also the remarkable 


citation ("as it is written*') in verse 9 : "Things which eye 
saw not, and ear heard not, and which entered not into the 
heart of man — whatsoever things God prepared for them 
that love him." This would apparently hark back to 
Empedocles : "Neither seen are these things by men, nor 
heard, nor by mind comprehended " (i, 8, 9a ; Plut. Mor, 
I'je) ; yet the last clause, "whatsoever," etc., seems to show 
that in descending to our epistolist it had received 
accession as well as modification en route^ and Zacharias of 
Chrysopolis declares {Harm, Evan.^ p. 343) that he had read 
the words in the Apocalypse of Elias. There appears no 
escape from the conclusion that they are cited from some 
such source, here regarded as authoritative. The epistolist, 
then, was familiar with such apocryphal works, and if he 
moved in such a circle of thought it seems hard to assign 
any limit to the extravagations of his fancy ; he may very 
well have dealt in mysteries, in which the deep Gnostic 
philosophy, "God's wisdom," was taught, both otherwise 
and by symbolic rites and ceremonies, one of which may 
very well have been some representation of the Divine 
Sufferer, the self-sacrifice of the Great High Priest after the 
order of Melchizedek, or the like. 

60. There are not a few other Pauline passages that 
strongly suggest a similar state of the case, as those that 
speak of bearing about always the dying of the Jesus, of 
bearing the stigmata of the Jesus, of being con-crucified and 
consepulchred with Jesus — all of which seem to mean more 
than is commonly suspected. But this subject is too exten- 
sive to be broached at this stage of the discussion. Enough 
that the keenest exegetes are quite unable to agree upon the 
exposition of the whole passage under consideration, opposing 
one another at every point ; that they fail one and all to do 
any adequate justice to the solemnity and sublimity of the 
wide-circling thought of the author ; and that the evident 
general reference, lying on the open hand, is to the secrecy 
and mystery with which the early doctrine was taught in 
graded classes of catechumens. 

61. Similar, too, seem to be the allusions in the Pastoral 
letters: "O Timothy, guard the deposit" (i Tim. vi, 20); 
and again, "Guard the good deposit" (2 Tim. i, 14); and 


again, " I am persuaded that he is able to guard my deposit 
unto that day" (2 Tim. i, 12). At the time of the composi- 
tion of these Pastorals the propaganda had indeed long been 
preached more or less publicly ; nevertheless, naturally 
enough the old forms of speech appear to have been still 

62. Far more convincing, however, is the manifest force 
of the remarkable deliverance (Matthew x, 26, 27) : '* For 
nought is covered that shall not be revealed, and hidden that 
shall not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak 
ye in the light ; and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon 
the housetops." All possibility of doubt is here finally and 
for ever excluded. Zahn and Holtzmann both recognise the 
reference to secret instruction, but apparently without feeling 
its significance. Zahn devotes about thirty pages, about 
thirteen hundred and fifty lines, to " The Co-operation of the 
Disciples," ix, 35-xi, i, forty-seven verses, nearly twenty- 
seven lines per verse. But to this immensely important 
verse (27) he gives only six lines of text, really merely 
repeating the verse itself: "Jesus must, in order not to cut 
short the possibility of the efficacy of the Gospel, practise 
great reserve, must hide much from the light of publicity, 
and whisper it into the ears of the disciples. This they were 
— of course not now, but in the future, to which the discourse 
from verse 17 on refers — to speak out and preach in full 
publicity." Such is the comment of this orthodox exegete ! 
One may well wonder what could have been the '' much " 
that Jesus taught by ''whisper in the ear," whereof we hear 
not the faintest hint "in the future," neither in the first nor 
in any following century. But verse 26 fares far worse at 
Zahn's dexterous hands : " But at the same time also the 
hostility towards Jesus and his disciples, now still possible 
only because of the concealment of the coming kingdom of 
heaven, will be brought to light, convicted, and condemned 
for its falseness and untenability." Here the reference of the 
hidden and covered, which is manifestly the same as in 
verse 27 — namely, to the secret new doctrine — is turned 
away to the hostility of the world, an utterly impossible 
reference, as appears doubly clear on comparing the parallel 
in Mark iv, 21-23, already discussed. Holtzmann, one of the 


sanest of all critics, merely speaks of '* the passage of the 
truth from the narrower into the wider circle." Both these 
treatments, if such they may be called, merely exhibit the 
despair of exegesis. The passages cannot be explained on 
the ordinary suppositions, and yet their meaning is trans- 
parent. They voice the argument of the eager and enthusiastic 
party, who were urging the open proclamation of the cult, 
against the more timid policy of the conservatives, who still 
would continue to develop it in secrecy. Of course, there 
were two such parties in the Kingdom ; there will always be 
progressives and stationaries while human nature remains 
what it is. 

63. At this point in the Gospels the progressives have 
got the floor. But the others also make themselves heard. 
In Matthew xi, 12 we read : " But from the days of John the 
Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, 
and men of violence take it by force." These words have 
been a standing puzzle to commentators, ancient as well as 
modern, who often *' slip away over it lightly without 
touching"; and nothing better seems to have been said 
than Wetstein's word concerning these Stormers : " I under- 
stand them, therefore, to be publicans and soldiers." Zahn 
admits : " The movement of thought must, to be sure, remain 
dark as long as we retain the ordinary passive meaning of 
/Bm^trat [vim patttur, cogitur].^^ Hence, " jSm^crat must rather 
have the very common intransitive sense of use power, press 
forward or press in with power,^^ '* With power like a 
storm-wind' it comes upon us, with might it bursts in." 
Certainly, ^idt^irai often means as much ; but Holtzmann is 
right in declaring, " the medial signification, possible in itself, 
is wrecked on the explanatory clause, ' the men of violence 
take it by force.'" Such has always been the verdict of 
common sense, which even Zahn defies in vain. But he is 
right in holding the movement of thought then to be obscure, 
and Weizsacker is justified in throwing the whole verse 
into parenthesis. However, in the light of the foregoing 

^ It is the " Kingdom " of which Zahn is speaking- !— the same King^dom 
that grows stilly and steadily as the mustard plant, invisibly as the hidden 
leaven, the Kingdom that " cometh not with observation." Herein the New 
World we find it discreet to observe these " storm-winds " rather carefully. 


discussion it does not seem very dark. The violent seem to 
be the progressives, who insisted on immediate proclamation 
of the Kingdom, on coming boldly into the open, instead of 
any longer maintaining the old policy of secrecy. A powerful 
representative of this radical party might have been John the 
Baptist ; and the conservative seems rather to complain that 
since John's day the radicals are overmastering the Kingdom, 
are obtaining the upper hand. However this may be, one 
thing appears now made perfectly clear — namely, that the 
original propaganda was a secret one, that it was whispered 
into the ear long before it was proclaimed on the housetops. 

64. It remains only to add that this secrecy was main- 
tained in some measure for many years, for generations even. 
Especially in the Gnostic portions of the New Testament we 
meet with the word mystery; and in the Twin Epistles, 
Ephesians and Colossians, it is found six and four times 
respectively. In the refutations of the heresiographers we 
find the Gnostics dealing continually in mysteries and secret 
lore. It seems superfluous to make references, but it may be 
permitted to quote Epiphanius {Hcer. Ixii, 2) concerning the 
" so-called Egyptian Gospel " : " For in it many such things 
are reported as in a corner, mysterywise, from countenance 
of the Saviour." Also in the Gospel (John xix, 38) we read 
of one Joseph, who was a disciple, but secretly, for fear of the 
Jews. Even in so late an author as Origen may be found 
many references to the secret worship and the *' mysteries " of 
the Christians. Thus, in C. Cels. iii, 59: ''Then, and not 
till then, we invite them to our mysteries {r^Xira^), For we 
speak wisdom among the perfect (reXatotc)." 


65. We are now brought face to face with a question of 
vital interest and importance : Why, then, was this Jesus-cult 
originally secret, and expressed in such guarded parabolic 
terms as made it unintelligible to the multitude ? To answer 
this we must first propound and answer another query, even 
more significant and fundamental : What was the essence, 
the central idea and active principle, of the cult itself? 
To this latter we answer directly and immediately ; It 


was a Protest against Idolatry ; it was a Crusade for Mono- 
theism » 

66. The proofs of this last proposition are various and 
abundant. The one that first impressed the mind of the 
writer is found in a consideration of the general spirit of the 
apologists. Consider, for instance, Athenagoras — 177 a.d. (?) 
— who seems to represent Christian apology at its best. Of 
what does his plea consist? Practically of an assault upon 
the prevailing polytheism. After three or four pages of 
introduction, in which he protests against the condemnation 
of Christians for the mere name, Athenagoras proceeds to 
answer the charges brought against them, of which he 
mentions three — atheism, Thyestean banquets, CEdipodean 
intercourse. He then advances to an elaborate refutation of 
the first, showing that Christian doctrine does acknowledge 
one God, who has made all things through the Logos ; that 
poets and philosophers alike testify to this unity of the God- 
head, to which Christians add the witness of the prophets ; 
that polytheism is intrinsically absurd, as attested by these 
Hebrew prophets ; that Christians cannot be atheists, since 
they acknowledge one God, increate, eternal, invisible, 
impassible, incomprehensible, illimitable, etc., who has 
created the universe through his Logos, also called his Son 
for good reasons ; who admit also the Holy Spirit, effluent 
from and recurrent to God like a ray of the sun. He further 
shows that the moral maxims and practice of Christians, 
particularly as to enemies, confute the charge of atheism; and 
he explains why they offer no sacrifice to God the Framer of 
the Universe. He then explains why Christians cannot 
worship the local gods, like others, who do not distinguish 
God from matter, and why they cannot worship the Universe; 
He then comes to closer attack upon the gods, showing their 
names and images to be recent ; that they are themselves 
creatures, as the poets confess ; that the representations of 
them are absurd ; that the poets describe them as gross and 
impure ; that the physical interpretations of the myths are 
vain, since in any case such nature-processes are not gods ; 
and then he criticises Thales and Plato (and pseudo-Plato). 
He then discourses at length of demons, whom he regards as 
the active principles in idolatry. " They who draw men to 


idols, then, are the aforesaid demons, who are eager for the 
blood of sacrifices, and lick them ; but the gods that please 
the multitude, and whose names are given to the images, 
were men, as may be learned from their history. And that 
it is the demons that act under their name is proved by the 
nature of their operations." He amplifies this doctrine of the 
allurement of demons to idolatry, and insists that the names 
of gods were derived from men, and calls the poets to witness, 
and finally attempts to show why divinity was ascribed to 
men, concluding that " we are not atheists, since we acknow- 
ledge God the Maker of this Universe, and his Logos." In 
six or seven pages he then briefly refutes the other two 
charges. So, then, almost precisely three-fourths of this 
plea (chs. iv-xxx) is consecrated to an attack on polytheism 
and a defence of Christian monotheism, the remaining one- 
fourth being given up to prologue (chs. i-iii), minor charges, 
and epilogue (chs. xxxi-xxxvi). Virtually the whole argument 
is occupied with monotheism versus polytheism. Most note- 
worthy is it that there is no mention or remote hint of any 
New Testament history. There are repeated assonances to 
the Gospels (as to Matthew v, 46 ; Luke vi, 32-34 ; Matthew 
V, 44, 45 ; Luke vi, 27, 28 ; Matthew v, 28 ; Matthew xxii, 39 ; 
Matthew xix, 9) ; but, strangely, the only sign of citation is 
says {(l^nm), where the understood subject is the Logos ; for 
once it stands : " For again the Logos says to us, * If anyone 
kiss a second time because it has given him pleasure, [he 
sins]'; adding, 'Therefore, the kiss, or rather the salutation, 
should be given with the greatest care, since, if there be 
mixed with it the least defilement of thought, it excludes us 
from eternal life.'" The word ''again" shows that in the 
previous quotation in the same chapter the understood 
subject of the says {(^ricri) was the same Logos. Evidently 
the apologist has drawn from fountains unknown to us. The 
Christianity of Athenagoras appears in this plea to consist 
practically of a philosophic monotheism tempered with some 
familiar theories. Stoic and other, about the Logos and the 
Spirit, and with some acquaintance with old-Christian 

67. Turn now to the Apology and Acts of Apollonius^ who 
is supposed to have suffered about a.d. 185. The story is 


nearly the same ; his answers to the Prefect are mainly a 
bold attack on the prevailing- idolatry. But he adds that 
"The Logos of God, the Saviour of souls and of bodies, 
became man in Judea and fulfilled all righteousness," etc. 
He adds also the invaluable verse 40 : " But also one of the 
Greek philosophers said : The just man shall be tortured, 
he shall be spat upon, and last of all he shall be crucified." 
The reference is, of course, to Plato i^Rep. II, 361 d), and 
shows clearly that this passage was in the Christian con- 
sciousness that wrought out the story of the Passion. The 
liberal critic does not hesitate, when he finds something done 
" that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet," 
to interpret these words strictly ; to declare that the incident 
was invented to fulfil the prophecy. Precisely so here we 
have a prophecy by the greatest of the Greek seers, and the 
incident framed to fulfil it. It is noteworthy that, according 
to Harnack, no other reference to this celebrated passage is 
found in old-Christian literature.^ Why? Because Christians 
were not familiar with it? Impossible. The silence of the 
Christians was intentional, and the reason is obvious. The 
passage was tell-tale. Similarly we are to understand their 
silence about the pre-Christian Nasarenes and many other 
lions that were safest when asleep. 

68. We return from this important digression to the 
Apologies. Consider now that of Aristides, famous in 
antiquity, as witnessed in many ways — by its use in Barlaam 
and Josaphat, its apparent use by Celsus and by Justin, and 
by the mention of it by Eusebius in Hist, Eccl, and in Chron, 
Here the case is even more evident. In this apparently 
earliest Apology there is virtually nothing but a most elaborate 
attack upon the whole system of ancient polytheism, of 
Barbarians and Greeks, and, most remarkably, even of the 


The Jews then say that God Is one, creator of all and almighty ; 
and that it is not proper for us that anything else should be 
worshipped, but this God only. And in this they appear to be much 
nearer to the truth than all the peoples, in that they worship God 

' But it seems to have been in the mind of James, who says (v, 6) : " Ye 
condemned, ye murdered, the Just ; he resists you not "; and of Justin, when 
he says {Dial. i6 b) : *' Ye slew the Just One." This title, " the Just," seems 
to hark back to the Republic^ but may have been transferred from Israel. 


more exceedingly, and not his works Nevertheless they, too, have 

g-one astray from accurate knowledge, and they suppose in their 
minds that they are serving God ; but in the methods of their actions 
their service is to angels, and not to God, in that they observe 
Sabbaths and new moons, and the Passover, and the great fast, and 
the fast, and circumcision, and cleanness of meats, which things not 
even thus have they perfectly observed. 

Amazingly the Christian Aristides attacks the Jews as not 
being yet quite monotheistic enough ! He continues : — 

Now the Christians, O King, by going about and seeking, have 
found the truth ; and, as we have comprehended from their writings, 
they are nearer to the truth and to exact knowledge than the rest of 
the peoples. For they know and believe in God, the Maker of 
heaven and earth, in whom are all things and from whom are all 
things ; he who has no other God as his fellow ; from whom they 
have received those Commandments, etc. 

There is no reference in aught that follows or in the whole 
Apology to the New Testament or to the evangelic life of 
Jesus. ^ 

69. There is, indeed, a so-called Christologic passage, 
which varies so widely in the Greek, Syriac, and Latin 
versions that little confidence can be put in any of the text 
forms. We may metaphrase the Greek thus : — 

\ But the Christians are descended from the Lord Jesus Christ. But 

this, the Son of the .God the Most High, is confessed in [by] Holy 
Spirit [as] from heaven descended for the salvation of men and of a 
virgin holy born, both inseminally and Incorruptibly, flesh assumed 
and appeared plain to men, in order that from the polytheistic 
error he might recall them. And having fulfilled his wondrous dis- 
pensation, by a cross death he tasted by voluntary counsel according 
to mighty dispensation ; and after three days he came back to life 
and into heavens ascended. Of whom the fame of the Parousy from 
the (among them so-called) Evangelic Holy Scripture it is possible 
for thee to know, O King, if thou light thereon. This one had 
twelve disciples who, after his ascent into [the] heavens, went out 
into the eparchies of the habitable [earth] and taught his greatness, 

^ It is worth remark that the Greek text indeed declares, " The Jews 
betrayed to Pilate," but not the Syriac. That the Greek text has suffered at 
this point seems corroborated by the fact that it has been transferred to 
chap, xiv from its proper position in chap. ii. It appears likewise plain that 
in the Syriac the original description of the Christians consisted of the single 
first sentence, as in the parallel descriptions of Barbarians, Gentiles, and Jews. 
The following christologic passage looks like an afterthought. But the text- 
critical question is too intricate for discussion here. Compare the thorough 
work of Geffcken, Zwei gnechische Apologeten. 



even as one of them went round these lands of ours preaching- the 
dogma of the truth. Whence those still yet ministering to the 
righteousness of their preaching are called Christians. 

70. Critics discern in this important passage the begin- 
nings of a creed, the Apostolicum. We are concerned only 
with two or three observations. First, the use of the word 
bfioXoyuTai (is confessed, allowed, admitted). The writer 
seems conscious that he is not affirming an historic fact, but 
merely something that is agreed on or granted — a kind of 
postulate of faith. Similarly in the Syriac version it reads : 
'' And u is said that God came down from heaven and from 
a Hebrew virgin took and clad himself in flesh"; whereas 
in the later Armenian and Latin versions all this is declared 
as fact — there is no such modification as " it is said " or 
''confessed." Secondly, we note the unequivocal statement 
of the reasons for the incarnation and manifestation of this 
Son of God the Most High : In order that from the polytheistic 
error he might recall them.^ Such, then, seems to have been 
the original conception of the mission of the Jesus or the 
Jesus-cult — namely, the overthrow of idolatry ^ as even Origen 
much later attests scores of times.^ Very characteristically, 
we find precisely these words omitted from the later Syriac, 
Armenian, and Latin versions. They told their story too 
plainly. Thirdly, the term •' Parousy," ordinarily taken to 
mean the " second " coming, is here properly used of the one 
presence of the Jesus in the flesh, as detailed in the Gospels. 
The '' second " coming is a later fancy. Fourthly, " Through- 
out this great Christological passage it is worth noting how 
the actual phrases of the New Testament are not introduced " 
(J. Armitage Robinson, p. 84). 

71. It would seem, then, that the testimony of this 
Apology, dating apparently from '' the early years of the 
reign of Antoninus Pius " (Harris), is strongly and unam- 
biguously in favour of our thesis, that the prime movement 
of the propaganda was distinctly and especially against the 
prevailing polytheism. 

72. What now says the Martyr? Two Apologies go 
under his name, apparently modelled in a measure on others 

^ Sttws iK TTJs TToXvdeov TrXdfrjs avToi>s avaKokicrrjTaL. 
^ Still later, Lactantius. See p. 38, footnote. 


that preceded, as that of Aristides. These Apologies speak 
of a great variety of matters in rather disorderly fashion. 
The plane of intelligence is sensibly lower than in the pleas 
of Aristides and Athenagoras. Great attention is given to 
a very fantastic exegesis of the Old Testament in support of 
the Christian doctrines championed. The general position 
of Justin is that the Old Testament prefigures the Christian 
dispensation in a thousand ways, and that all of it has been 
or will be fulfilled or repeated in Christian history. "Since, 
then, all things that have already happened we proved to 
have been predicted by the prophets before they happened, 
it is necessary also concerning the things similarly predicted 
but yet going to happen to have faith that surely they will 
happen. For in what way the things that have , already 
happened, having been predicted and being unknown, came 
to pass, in the same way also the rest, even though they be 
unknown and disbelieved, shall come to pass " (i, 52). Of 
course, we cannot dwell on any such theory. It is only 
necessary to observe that Justin does not fail to attack 
idolatry vigorously, and that he states explicitly that the 
mission of the Jesus was "for the sake of believing men, and 
for the destruction of demons" (ii, 6). Inasmuch as his 
witness on this and other points is elsewhere discussed 
minutely in this volume, it may be passed over here with 
the general observation that it accords with the thesis we 
are defending. 

73. We pass now to the Exhortation of Clemens Alexan- 
drinus (Aoyoc TrpoTpeirTiKog Trpog "EXXr}vag), and we find it con- 
sists almost entirely of a rather wordy but withal eloquent 
protest against Greek polytheism and a recommendation to 
accept in its stead the worship of the one God and his Logos, 
which is evidently only an aspect of God. We note particularly 
the mission of his "Song": "But not such my song, that 
comes to loose and that not slowly the bitter bondage of the 
tyrannising demons, and as leading us back to the mild and 
man-loving yoke of the worship of God (tyiq ^soo-ejScmc), again 
to heaven recalls those that to earth had been prostrated 
(Ippilifxhovo).'' Note carefully the Greek word, for it is 
precisely that used by Matthew (ix, 36) to describe the 
forlorn condition of the Galilean multitude likened to harassed 


sheep. Clement here employs it to describe the condition of 
the Greeks, led away by their poets to the degrading worship 
of "idols," of ''blocks of wood and stone" — i.e.^ "statues 
and images"; and so subjected to the "yoke of extremest 
bondage" "of the tyrannising demons." It is needless to 
pursue this thought further. Clement's testimony is the 
strongest possible — that he considered Christianity, at least 
the original Christian movement, as a Crusade, as a Holy 
War, against the stupefying idolatry of the Empire, conceived 
as the worship of demons. This was the very essence of his 
conception. The doctrine of the Logos was with him far 
from unimportant, but it was secondary, and disturbed his 
monotheism no more than the same doctrine disturbed the 
monotheism of Philo. How absolutely Clement identifies' 
Jesus, the Word, and the Christ (as mere aspects) with 
Deity is vividly shown in this sentence : " Now John, the 
herald of the Logos, for this cause exhorted to become ready 
for God's the Christ's Parousy (aic ^£ou tov xpkttov irapovaiav),'' 
Of course, he also speaks of this eternal Logos as having 
appeared to men and even as "become man." Remarkable 
is his expression : " Verily I say, the Logos, the Logos of 
God, having become man {vai (pr^jULL 6 Aojoq 6 tov deov avOpioirog 
jEvoniEvog),*^ This is mentioned merely to show that we are 
not suppressing nor neglecting (though not discussing) the 
Christology of Clement — not that it bears on our argument. 

74. We pass now to the celebrated Octaviiis of Minucius 
Felix, written at latest before the end of the second century. 
The testimony of this Ciceronian dialogue is as full and 
explicit as the most exacting could desire. The reasoning 
by which Cascilius is converted is virtually nothing but a plea 
for the purest monotheism as opposed to the prevalent poly- 
theism. This monotheism is affirmed and re-affirmed, is 
urged and re-urged, in the strongest possible terms. Of 
course, it was necessary to repel the slanders current in 
regard to the morals and worship of the Christians, to wash 

^ For similar bold identifications of these Ideas and Beings compare Col. ii, 2, 
"unto full knowledg-e of the mystery of (the) God Christ (roO Beoxi xpto-rou)" ; 

Titus ii, 13, "looking- unto the appearing o{ our great God and Saviour 

Jesus Christ"; Jude 25, "to (the) only God our Saviour." So, too, Clement 
himself, referring to Psalms xxxiv, 8, quotes Paul as pleading : " Taste and 
see that Christ is God (5x4 xP^(^Tbs 6 deds)." 


away the stain of Cascilius' bitter reproaches in the waters of 
truth ; but this flat denial cuts no great figure in the discus- 
sion. It is on the Christian monotheism as against the 
absurd and degrading Pagan polytheism that the whole 
high argument turns. " Nor seek a name for God, for God 

is his name for God, who is alone, God is the one and 

only name (Nee nomen Deo quaeras : Deus nomen est 

Deo, qui solus est, Dei vocabulum totum est)." Referring 
to the fact that the people in prayer say merely "God," he 
asks : " Is that the natural speech of the people, or the 
formula of the confessing Christian? (Vulgi iste naturalis 
sermo est, an Christiani confitentis oratio?)" ''Therefore 
neither from dead men (do) Gods (arise), since God cannot 
die, nor from men born, since all dies that is born : divine, 
however, is that which has no rising nor setting." Enough. 
Octavius is a pure monotheist, nothing less and nothing 
more. He fights the battle of Christianity as the battle of 
the One God against the many gods of Rome. He never 
hints at any New Testament story, nor even at an incipient 
creed or Apostolic symbol. And with such weapons, and 
only such, he converts the polytheist Cascilius. It seems 
impossible there should be a more exact proof of our funda- 
mental thesis. 

75. If now we turn to Tatian's Address to Greeks^ to 
Justin's Exhortation to Greeks^ to the three books of Theo- 
philus to Autolycus, we find one and the same story, the 
one already so often repeated. It would be wearisome and 
superfluous to dwell on these, but it is interesting to note 
Tatian's account of his own conversion (c. 29). It was 
effected not at all, as we should imagine, by preaching of the 
cross and of the incomparable life in Galilee, but by study of 
certain " barbaric scriptures " (Jewish), containing among 
prophecies and excellent precepts the " Declaration of the 
Government of the universe as centred in one Being," 
scriptures that "put an end to the slavery that is in the 
world, and rescue us from a multiplicity of rulers and ten 
thousand tyrants" — these are, of course, the "tyrannising 
demons" of Clement, the divinities of the pagan world, as 
Tatian repeatedly affirms. Quite similarly was Theophilus 
converted, according to his own account (Bk. i, c. 14), nor 


can we think of Justin's conversion as different. One or two 
phrases from Theophilus are worth quoting. Of God he says : 
** If I call him Logos, I name but his sovereignty." Again : 
*' Entrust yourself to the Physician, and he will couch the eyes 
of your soul and of your heart. Who is the Physician ? God, 
who heals and makes alive through his word and wisdom." 

76. Up to this point the testimony of Origen, as being 
considerably later (a.d. 250), has not been mentioned. But 
it is altogether too important to be omitted. In his work 
Against Celsus^ on the whole the ablest Apology for 
Christianity ever published, he presents the case in every 
aspect that offered itself to his extraordinarily comprehensive 
and wide-ranging intelligence. Yet nowhere does he betray 
any consciousness of the modern point of view, nowhere 
does he advance the human personality of Jesus to the front, 
nowhere does he ground any argument upon its uniqueness 
or even its superiority. But everywhere he stresses the sole 
rationality of monotheism, everywhere he is arguing against 
the error of polytheism, everywhere he is contending that 
the heathen gods are demons, that idolatry is demon-worship, 
to overthrow which and to lead humanity back to the one 
true God is the especial and peculiar mission of Jesus and 
the Jesus-cult. Repeatedly he quotes the Septuagint version 
of Ps. xcvi, 5 : '■' For all the gods of the heathen are demons." 
In iv, 32 he speaks of Jesus as "having overthrown the 
doctrine about demons on earth "; in vii, 17 he sees "• pledges 
of the demolition of the devil in those who, through the 
coming of Jesus, are everywhere escaping from the demons 
holding them down, and through deliverance from bondage 
under demons have dedicated themselves to God, etc." Quid 
multa? That Origen conceived of Christianity and the 
mission of Jesus as primarily intended to recall the heathen 
world from the great error and disease of the demon- worship 
of polytheism back to the faith and service of the one true 
God, is superfluously manifest in every book and almost in 
every chapter of this chief of all Apologies. 

77. Herewith, then, we close the argument derived from 
the Apologists.' It seems hardly possible to imagine it more 

* Their testimony might, indeed, be produced at much greater length ; but 
no attempt is here made to present it fully. 


cogent, more explicit, more self-consistent, more absolutely 
demonstrative. We must remember that the Apologists are 
not arguing with one another, not speaking a tongue that 
outsiders might not easily understand ; but are reasoning 
with the heathen around them, and hence must be using 
such arguments as were common in the great controversy, 
must be presenting the staple proofs of the Christians in 
their high debate with pagandom. We may affirm, then, 
with the highest degree of certainty attainable in such matters, 
that the central and essential demonstration of the Christian 
was a vivid exhibition of the colossal absurdity of polytheism 
and a powerful appeal to the immanent monotheistic (monistic) 
instinct in every man. 

78. On the negative side the silence of the Apologist is 
profoundly impressive. He tells absolutely nothing what- 
ever oi the beautiful pure human life in Galilee and Judasa; 
not a single incident has he to mention, not a single argu- 
ment, not a single illustration, not a single exhortation, not 
a single suggestion — not a single motive has he drawn from 
that incomparable life that is supposed to have hallucinated 
the disciples and even the slaughter-breathing Saul. The 
modern minister, even the modern critic, at the distance of 
nineteen hundred years, fills all the buckets of his discourse 
from this clear-flowing, exhaustless well of the Jesus- 
personality and the Jesus-life. But the ancient Apologist 
under the Antonines, before the canon of the New Testament 
was formed, in debate with kings and emperors and philo- 
sophers and the intimates of his own circle, knows nothing 
whatever of this fountain. He draws never a drop from its 
waters ; often he does not allude to it even remotely. Almost 
it would seem to exist for him, if at all, only as an esoteric 
and not as an exoteric doctrine. We do indeed find a few 
scant allusions to certain dogmas that were ''confessed," but 
these are all of more or less metempirical nature, like the 
"mystery" in i Tim. iii, 16; we find no recognition what- 
ever of any such human life as modern theology, both liberal 
and orthodox, lays at the basis of its whole New Testament 

79. Against this broad-sweeping averment, the vague 
references (even if they were far less vague) of Justin to 


Memoirs of the Apostles cannot be called in evidence. We 
have seen that Justin had a theory according to which the 
Old Testament was an elaborate type, whose antitype must 
be found in Christian history ; he argued not from actuality, 
but from necessity ; such and such must have happened, 
therefore it did happen.^ The testimony of such a theory is 
worth very little. Moreover, the text-critical question con- 
cerning Justin is very large and very difficult. The interpo- 
lations seem to be so extensive that any argument drawn 
from him alone must be received with exceeding caution. 

80. We hold, then, that the general state of mind revealed 
in the Apologists, as shown in their virtually uniform method 
of procedure in controversy with their heathen neighbours, is 
forever and totally irreconcilable with the theory of the human 
life. If these men knew and accepted the Gospel story in its 
literal sense, if they believed in the human life of Jesus as the 
modern Christian and critic believes in it, then it is scarcely 
possible to understand why they ignored it so utterly in 
their debates with their fellows. The full force of this 
argument cannot be brought home to any man that is not 
acquainted at first hand with at least one of these apologies. 
No amount of citation will suffice. Let the reader, then, take 
down some one of them, as Octavius^ and read it through 
carefully, and yield himself to the natural reaction ; he will 
no longer have any doubt of the general correctness of the 
propositions here maintained. 

81. We have digressed intentionally from the main thesis 
— namely, that primitive Christianity was essentially a revolt 
against the gods. The argument from the Apologists may be 
supplemented by a similar one drawn from the Acts of the 

; Apostles, as, for instance, from Paul's speech on Mars' Hill. 
In this famous harangue the first nine verses move precisely 
along the lines of the apologists ; it is nothing but nionotheism 
versus polytheism. The tenth verse (verse 31) switches the 
thought off upon another track, and is inconsequential in its 
present context. Says Holtzmann (p. 393) : " So also the 

* Even so keen and capacious a mind as Origen's g-ave to the argument 
from prophecy easily the first place, and Chrysostom, commenting on Acts 
ii. 16, says none can be more cogent, since it " outweighs even the historical 
facts themselves." If these latter contradicted, so much the w^orse for them ! 


discourse of Paul takes a sudden turn at verse 31." As it 
stands, it is palpably unhistorical. This thought, however, 
we need not pursue further at this point, since we have given 
a separate and elaborate treatment of Acts (in a MS. not yet 

82. Equally weighty are the considerations drawn from 
the Gospels themselves. In the activity of the Jesus and the 
apostles as there delineated, the one all-important moment is 
the casting-out of demons. Thus, in the commission of the 

apostles (Mark iii, 14, 15): *'And he made Twelve that 

they might be with him, and that he might send them forth 
to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons"; 
(Matthew x, i) : " And having summoned his twelve disciples, 
he gave them authority over spirits unclean, to cast them out, 
and to heal every disease and every sickness." Again, in 
Luke X, 17-20, when the seventy (who certainly symbolise 
the general mission to heathendom) return and joyfully 
exclaim, *' Lord, even the demons are subject to us in thy 
name," the answer is, ''I was beholding the Satan like 
lightning falling from heaven." It seems amazing that 
anyone should hesitate an instant over the sense of these 
words. When we recall the fact that the early Christians 
uniformly understood the heathen gods to be demons, and 
uniformly represented the mission of the Jesus to be the 
overthrow of these demon-gods, it seems as clear as the sun 
at noon that this fall of Satan from heaven can be nothing 
less (and how could it possibly be anything more ?) than the 
headlong ruin of polytheism, the complete triumph of the 
One Eternal God. It seems superfluous to insist on anything 
so palpable. All that is necessary is for the reader to dwell 
for a moment on these and similar passages, and let their 
obvious sense lay hold upon his mind. Let him also ask 
himself the near-lying question : If such be not the meaning 
of these verses, then what is their meaning? What other 
possible significance, that is not trivial, can they have? Can 
any rational man for a moment believe that the Saviour sent 
forth his apostles and disciples with such awful solemnity to 
heal the few lunatics that languished in Galilee? Is that the 
way the sublimest of teachers would found the new and true 
religion? And would he describe the cure of a few such 


wretches as the downfall of Satan from heaven ? Such an 
idea cannot command the least respect or attention. Are 
there any scholars that really entertain it? If so, non 
ragioniam di lor. At this point, then, our contention 
would seem to be so self-evident as to call for nothing 
but mere statement. Nevertheless, it is so supremely 
important in its consequences that it has been thought 
worth while to devote a separate section to its demon- 

83. We may also look at the matter from another view- 
point. If by the expulsion of demons be meant the overthrow 
of the heathen gods, their dislodgment from the minds of their 
former servile worshippers, then this mighty task, certainly 
by far the greatest that the new propaganda could propose or 
could accomplish, and certainly by all odds the chiefest of all 
its actual achievements, this supreme task receives in the 
Gospels foremost and perfectly proper recognition — yea, in 
Acts X, 38 it is specified as the mission and activity of the 
Jesus. This, then, is perfectly what we should and must 
expect. It seems wholly inconceivable that the first propa- 
gators of a new religion, annihilating all others, should never 
make the slightest allusion to any of these, but should direct 
their chief attention to healing a few defectives, an enterprise 
merely philanthropic, impossible of any marked significance, 
and having in it no proper religious element or importance 
whatever. On the other hand, if the exorcisms be taken 
literally, if they do not symbolise the conquest of the pagan 
gods, then, indeed, in the Gospels, in the life, death, and 
teaching of the Jesus, in the foundation-laying of the new 
faith, we find no reference of any kind to the overtowering 
fact of idolatry, to the very state of the case with which the 
new religion was far more vitally and intentionally concerned 
than with any and all others. There is, in fact, an immense 
apparent vacuity in the Gospel, which must be filled, which 
is actually and completely filled by the hypothesis here set 
forth, and which can be filled in no other conceivable manner. 
It seems hardly reasonable to demand a more stringent 
verification of an hypothesis. 

84. We now advance a step, and maintain that it is un- 
thinkable that a great world-religious movement at that era 


should not have been aimed first and foremost at the pre- 
vailing idolatry. For this latter lay directly across the path 
of any feasible religious reform. It was utterly absurd to 
talk of renovating the face of the earth ("The old things are 
passed away; behold, they are become new") as long as 
the prevalent polytheism remained unshaken. What other 
imaginable way lay open for God to " reconcile the world 
to himself" than by routing the pagan gods; by driving 
them out of man into the swine, their fitting habitation, and 
whelming all in the sea? Hence the sublime depiction in 
Mark v, 1-13. The notion that God was reconciling the 
world to himself by the conversion (to an unintelligible 
dogmatic system) of some individuals here and there is inex- 
pressibly puerile ; it is, in fact. Individualism run mad. 
The thought and schemes of the primitive preachers were 
incomparably grander.' They aimed — magnificently aimed — 
at the re-constitution of all society, at least in its religious 
aspects ; and this involved, first and foremost, as a sine qua 
non^ the overthrow of polytheism. In the light of this fact, 
the Apologies, which represent clearly the attitudes of Christian 
and Pagan towards each other, become perfectly intelligible ; 
nay, more, we see distinctly how it was absolutely necessary 
for them to be just what they were. When in modern times 
a practical and zealous, not merely dreamy and speculative, 
reformer arises, like Luther or Calvin, or Knox or Fox, or 
even Parker or Eddy, it becomes unavoidable for him to 
assume some position with respect to the prevalent faith and 
worship. So, too, it was unavoidable in the case of the 
early Christian propagandists. Nor had they any choice of 
position. Their monotheistic dogma ran directly counter to 
the idolatry of the day, and between the two, from the very 
start, it was war to the knife, and the knife to the hilt. Hence 
the intensity of the struggle as soon as the propaganda was 
made public. 

^ At this point Ramsay's conception of the preaching of Paul presents an 
important element of correctness. 




85. We may now also see clearly why the propaganda was 
at first a secret. This, too, was a necessity, but a necessity 
of prudence. Had the Christians from the start proclaimed 
their crusade against the gods, not in the ear, not in the 
dark, but in the light and on the housetops, they would very 
soon have been extinguished ; for they would have come 
into instant conflict with the State authorities, which studiously 
tolerated the gods as the conservative forces of society, and 
they would have been suppressed speedily and effectively. 
Hence the extreme prudence that marked the early efforts of 
the missionaries. Hence, too, the admirable injunctions in 
Matthew jx — a most important chapter, which no man can 
understand save on the hypothesis of the primitive secrecy 
of the cult, and that, too, a monotheistic cult of a holy war 
against idolatry. *' Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the 
midst of wolves : be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harm- 
less as doves." This maxim the early Christians seem to 
have laid close to heart, and it is really wonderful how 
successfully they avoided collision with the State authorities ; 
it constitutes a high tribute to their general intelligence and 
the wisdom of their methods. Not until the second century, 
when their numbers had greatly multiplied, when they began 
to feel some confidence in their waxing strength, do they 
begin to lay aside the counsels of prudence, and attack 
polytheism more and more openly, and not unnaturally 
involve themselves in sharp conflict with the police, and 
finally bring down upon themselves systematic persecution. 

86. It seems to have been this necessary secrecy of the 
cult and this imperative prudence in its first proclamation 
that forced upon the propagandists a distinct dialect, a 
parabolic or symbolic mode of speech, that is still preserved 
in our New Testament, especially in the Gospels, and has 
been the source of endless misunderstanding. Such is the 
esoterism that Wellhausen recognises in the famous four 
verses (Mark iv, 11, 12, 33, 34), and that meets us, in fact, at 
almost every turn as we pick our way through the earliest 
Christian literature. Such is the explanation, and the only 
possible explanation, of the parables, or at least of their 


astonishing prominence in the speech of the Jesus. Even if 
we were to grant everything else to the modern critics, it would 
still remain for ever incomprehensible why any teacher should 
employ the parable to such an extraordinary extent and 
degree ; above all, why he should teach intentionally in a 
manner that not even his intimate disciples, much less the 
multitude of outsiders, could understand. We must repeat 
with Jiilicher : '' Either the Evangelists or Jesus " — that is, 
the liberal '' Jesusbild." This latter is absolutely and admit- 
tedly irreconcilable with the Evangelists. But these latter 
are equally irreconcilable with common sense, so long as 
they are understood literally. They must, then, be under- 
stood, not literally, but symbolically, esoterically, precisely 
as they themselves demand in those priceless four verses. 

87. More specifically, we now see why the Gospels never 
speak of heathen gods and their overthrow, but so continually 
of the casting-out of demons. This phraseology was part and 
parcel of the parabolic dialect they had found it wise to use. 
It would have been rash, and might have been disastrous, to 
talk or even to write about the overthrow of Zeus and Apollo 
and Artemis and Minerva and Juno and Serapis and Isis and 
Attis and a legion of others. It was far safer, as well as far 
more forcible and poetic, to speak of Man as possessed by 
a legion of demons, who are expelled and annihilated by the 
omnipotent word of the Jesus, whereupon Man himself, 
clothed and in his right mind, seats himself (as a learner and 
follower) at the feet of his Saviour. That it was the especial 
mission of the new cult to vanquish the prevailing idolatry 
is expressed in symbolic terms of startling vividness in 
Mark i, 24. At the very opening of his ministry, as his first 
miracle, in Capernaum, the Jesus expels the demon, who, 
speaking in the plural, cries out : "• What to us and thee, 
Jesus Nazarene ? Thou art come to destroy us. We know 
thee who thou art, the Holy One of God." This demoniac, 
mark you, is in the synagogue, and very properly, because 
it was among the Hellenists, the half-Judaised Greeks and 
half-Grecised Jews, that the great movement took its origin. 

88. We now arrive at the explanation of the name 
Jesus, which has triumphed over every other name under 
heaven. The original crusade, even down through the third 


j/century, as the apologists witness, was against polytheism ; 
and one might think that the bare doctrine of the one God, 

11 whose name is God, might have been brought forward, as, 
in fact, it is in Octavius, That, however, was not possible 
without making a more or less open attack on the countless 
! gods ; and this, we have just seen, was what prudence forbade 
las impracticable. If the new doctrine was to be expressed 
guardedly and symbolically, then nothing else lay nearly so 
nigh as to speak of the infinite error of humanity as a disease, 
as possession by demons, who were regarded as actual beings 
and the active principles in the gods themselves. The incite- 
ment to such a metaphor, if any were at all needed, was given 
in the Old Testament language, where the backsliding of 
Israel, his reversion to idolatry, is represented as a disease 
which Jehovah heals. But, in fact, the metaphor lay so 
close at hand that it could hardly have been avoided. If, 

, now, this paganism, this possession by demons, was con- 
ceived as a disease, then whoso overthrew the paganism, 
expelled the demon, cured the disease, must be conceived as 
a healer, a physician, a Saviour. Of course, this same power 
was really God or the worship of God ; but it was conceived 
personally, and in the symbolic dialect it had to be designated 
by a proper name and represented as a man, according to 
universal usage. But what should be the name ? It needs 
little additional argument to show, for the considerations 
already brought forward have made clear, that the name to 
be preferred above all others was none else than the world- 
conquering name of Jesus. Both in its Greek and in its 
Hebrew form it was perfectly adapted to the end in view — to 
serve as a name for Deity under the aspect or person, not of 
King, nor Creator, nor Judge, nor even Father, but of the 
healing, the saving, God ; and it is under precisely this 
aspect, which is at the same time an aspect of eternity, that 
he appears upon the scene in the Gospels, particularly the 

\ more primitive, as Mark, and there enacts the grand role of 

I Salvation, of triumph over all the demon-gods of the earth. 

( '89. It must not be supposed, however, that this highly 
pictorial representation would please every mind that was in 
hearty sympathy with the general idea. By no means. The 
diversity of individual natures is far too great. There were 


doubtless many who would not fall in fully with this 
depiction, precisely because it had not originated with them- 
selves. We all know the conundrum : What is a Professor? 
Answer : A man that has some other opinion. Doubtless 
there were many such among both Jews and Greeks, in whose 
Talmud and whose philosophies not a few opinions seem 
to have as their only raison d'etre their difference from all 
others. Unless, then, we suppose human nature to have 
been entirely peculiar in those early Christian circles, we 
must be prepared to find many diverse representations of this 
same central concept of God as Saviour. In fact, we do find 
a very great diversity, even within the lids of the New Testa- 
ment itself ; and as soon as we pass beyond this canon the 
diversity becomes almost measureless. So great, indeed, it 
is that nearly eighteen hundred years of firm ecclesiastical 
coercion have failed to reduce it to anything like harmony ; 
and over one hundred years of untiring efforts, of boundless 
learning, and piercing acumen have been unable to discover 
and exhibit the supposed original unity of a central per- 
sonality. In fact, the differences penetrate to the very root 
of the whole doctrine, and leave absolutely nothing on which 
there is agreement beyond the one conception of the one 
God, as in some way and under some form coming to the 
rescue of afflicted and erring humanity. 

90. These deep-reaching diversities seem to show of them- 
selves convincingly that there was at the start no one com- 
manding and all-compelling intellect or personality, but that 
many minds of many types, ranging from the highly sensuous, 
pictorial, and imaginative to the deeply pensive, subtly 
argumentative, and cosmic-philosophic, were from the very 
first at work upon the same great problem of a universal 
monotheistic religion. To be sure, there were not merely 
independent and widely separated points of view ; there 
would also be many eclectics and syncretists, who recognised 
a certain amount of beauty or propriety or truth in alien doc- 
trines, and sought to harmonise them — to fuse them together 
into one. Our New Testament scriptures are very largely 
the result of such well-meant efforts. A striking example is 
afforded by the fourth Gospel, which seeks to melt into one 
the representations of the Salvation-God as the eternal Logos 


and as the Jesus of the Synoptists — with how much success 
it is needless to discuss. 

91. It should be added that one form of speech was 
virtually necessitated by the essential nature of the whole 
movement as aimed at the overthrow of polytheism and the 
introduction everywhere of the worship of the one God. The 
goal of endeavour was to inake God known ^"^ to reveal him to 
men. In the new cult he was made known, was revealed ; in 
one word, he appeared to men. But not only did he thus appear 
to men : in this appearance, in this revelation, in this new 
doctrine, he was (for purely pictorial and symbolic purposes 
and reasons already set forth) spoken of as a man, as going 
hither and thither proclaiming the new doctrine, as casting 
out demons, and performing the whole work of salvation that 
was actually accomplished by the cult itself. Thus, to take 
a striking illustration, when Gentile proselytes were admitted 
into the Kingdom on equal terms with the Jews, though some 
narrower conservatives at first opposed, the Jesus is repre- 
sented as blessing " little ones " (as such proselytes or con- 
verts were called), and saying: ''Suffer the little children 
to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the 
kingdom of God." That the reference here is exclusively 
to such proselytes is elsewhere proved in this volume. 
Everyone must admit that the symbolic statement of this 
fact, as an act of the Jesus, is incomparably more impres- 
sive than any mere prosaic and literal statement could 
ever be. 

92. But such metaphors carried with them an important 
corollary — namely, that the Jesus appeared as a man^ in the 
flesh.'' This corollary was merely a piece of poetic or pictorial 
consistency, and had no further historic validity than the 
original picture-phrase itself. However, when once a riotous 
imagination started on such a path there was no telling 
where it would stop. Some might be content with the 

' Hence the genuine proto-Christian terms Gnosis and Gnostic. Knowledge 
of God and worship of God are the two pole-stars of the proto-Christian 

^ In fact, the idea of the Logos or Word dwelling in men had already been 
naturalised in extensive circles. " The habitation of the Word is Man " 
{Odes of Soloman xii, 11). It matters not to say with Harnack, " there is no 
thought here of the Hellenic Logos" — the passage from one to the other was 
too easy and tempting. 


declaration that he appeared as man, appeared in the flesh ; 
^thers would want to know where, how, and when, and 
answers would be supplied in varying fashion and in varying 
degrees of minuteness. Mark and John might resign 
themselves to silence concerning birth and infancy, while 
Matthew and Luke devised mutually exclusive pre-histories. 
But not only might it seem necessary to give an account of 
the birth, it would certainly in any case seem necessary to 
give some account of the departure from earth and return to 
heaven, whence he was in this fullness of time revealed. On 
this point there could not be so much diversity of fancy, 
though there might be a great deal. The notion of a Divine 
Sufferer, even of a dying God, was given in the ancient 
mythology, with which such students of religion, as the first 
Christians were, would naturally be acquainted. Still more, 
the famous Isaian passage on the suffering and death of the 
servant of Yahveh (Is. Hi, 13-liii, 12) lay open at hand, nor 
could it nor did it fail to impress the earliest Christian con- 
sciousness and fancy, as the case of Philip and the Eunuch 
clearly shows (Acts viii, 27-40). 

93. This was not all, however. Perhaps even more 
determinative was the wonderful passage in the Republic 
(II, 361 d), where they found vividly portrayed the persecu- 
tion and crucifixion of the ideal Just One. Hence the Jesus 
could be called directly the Just. Once the death on the 
cross was elaborated in this great quasi-historic picture, the 
resurrection and ascension could not linger. To express 
this resurrection the same word, Anastasis, was used that had 
already been employed (it would seem) to denote the estab- 
lishment or inauguration' of the new Saviour-God on the 
throne of the universe. Of course, the resurrection and 
ascension were not naturally conceived as two things, but as 
one, as a rising up and ascent to the heights of heaven. The 
previous use of the term Anastasis, in the sense of setting-up, 
explains why the resurrection was unnaturally distinguished 
from the ascension. — In the foregoing sketch we find 
expressed or implied all the elements of the primitive faith 
found in that earliest symbol, i Tim. iii, 16 : " Confessedly 

* Compare the essay " Anastasis " in Der vorchristliche Jesus. 



great is the mystery of godliness : who was manifested in 
flesh, was justified in spirit, appeared to angels, was preached 
among Gentiles, was believed on in the world, was received 
up in glory." But it must be remembered that they who 
first sang these lines understood w^hat they were singing, 
and were clearly conscious that the import was symbolic. 

94. It could not be expected that an elaborate parable 
could be pursued to the end without falling into many 
contradictions, and even absurdities. All rhetoricians warn 
us not to press metaphors. In the Gospels the metaphor 
has been pressed rather hard, and with tremendous conse- 
quences to human history. 

95. It is by no means forgotten that there are many other 
important notions in the Gospels, as of the Son of Man, 
the Son of God, and the Christ, which we have thus far not 
introduced by name. In some respects these are easy 
enough, in others not so easy to understand. No discussion 
of them is at present necessary, for they are in any and 
every case ideas and nothing else than ideas, conceptions of 
celestial beings. Whatever be their genesis, and however 
they were finally though imperfectly fused with the notion of 
the Jesus, the Saviour-God, it cannot affect seriously our 
general verdict upon the matter already treated. In 
particular, the marriage of the concept of the Jesus with that 
of the Christ, which seems in large measure the work of the 
Jewish scribe Saul, is a difficult problem of great interest. 
But its solution cannot disturb the results thus far attained. 
We may, then, postpone its treatment for the present. 

96. In the development of the drama of salvation there 
were many mythologic elements that lay at hand, not a few 
venerable in their antiquity, descended from Nippur and 
Babylon, from the Tigris and the Euphrates, and possibly 
even from the Indus and the Ganges. It would be strange 
if these had not suggested or shaped or coloured some of 
the incidents and delineations and even thought-elements 
elaborated in the Gospels, in the New Testament, in early 
Christian literature, faith, and worship. The deep researches 
of Assyriologists in particular will doubtless bring more and 
more of these to light, and such illumination is most welcome 
and valuable. But it would be a mistake (in my opinion) to 


ascribe to these more or less passive elements an originative 
or actively formative power. They were not themselves 
vivifying ; they needed to be vivified. They lent themselves 
readily to the creative activity of the new spirit, the new 
teaching, the new religion. It was this creative idea that 
intussuscepted and assimilated them, and transformed them 
into the living tissue of the Gospel, the creed and the ritual, 
even as the formative idea of the organism seizes upon and 
converts into its own organic fibre the nutritive material that 
lies within its reach. It appears, then, forever inadmissible to 
explain Christianity from the Gilgamesh Epos or from Babel 
or India or elsewhere, though all of these may have contri- 
buted more or less food to the organic idea that has unfolded 
itself in the historic church and creed and scriptures. But 
for the germ, the growing idea, all of these elements and 
millions more would have continued to lie inert and lifeless, 
as they had lain for a thousand years.' 


97. Do you ask what was this germ? The answer must 
be that already given : It was the monotheistic impulse, the 
instinct for unity that lies at the heart of all grand philosophy 
and all noble religion. 

The Christian fathers did not err in dedicating so much 
time and thought to the doctrine of Monarchy^ the sole 
sovereignty of God ; nor was Schleiermacher wrong in saying 
of the chief of modern Monists that he was " full of religion 
and full of a holy spirit "; nor Novalis in calling him a ** God- 
intoxicated man." The heart and soul of primal Christianity 
was an impassioned, sustained, and well-reasoned protest 
against the prevailing idolatry, as degrading, immoral, 

^ Compare my words in the American Journal Oj Theology (April, 1911, 
p. 265) : " As the planet speeds sweeping- round the sun it gathers up showers 
of meteoric masses, the dust of shattered worlds, and imbeds them in its own 
crust. So, too, as the great idea of the Jesus, the healing-, saving, demon- 
expelling God, circled round through the circum- Mediterranean conscious- 
ness, it could hardly fail to attract and attach to itself many wandering 
fragments of dismembered faiths, and the identification of these may well 
engage the attention of the orientalist and the comparative philologist ; but 
the nucleus and central mass of the 'new doctrine' would seem to lie nearer 
home, and need not be sought for on the banks of the Ganges or the Nile, in 
the Gilgamesh Epos or in the inscriptions of Crete." 


irrational, and wholly unworthy of man, who was the 
sublimest creature in the universe, and ought to worship 
only the one supreme God, forever one, though revealed to 
man under a variety of aspects or persons ; and it was 
precisely this plea for monotheism that won for the new 
religion its sudden and surprising victory. 

98. But no germ can grow, or even live, unless the 
environment be favourable, and the degree of perfection in 
the development will depend in great measure on the degree 
of favour shown by the environment. If we apply this 
truism to the case in hand, we shall quickly perceive that all 
the conditions were present in the beginning of our era, or 
even before, in measure and degree never equalled, for the 
germination and growth of precisely such an idea as we have 
found embodied in Christianity. For it is well known and 
freely recognised that there was all around the Mediterranean 
an immense and intense yearning for a Saviour. The 
evidence is already printed, and accessible, and referred to, 
so that we need not dwell on the point longer. 

99. Far more important is the fact that the existing 
conditions were such as to arouse the monotheistic instinct 
to almost feverish activity. As long as some kind of political 
independence, or at least separation, attached to geographical 
isolation or removal, and to racial or linguistic distinction, 
the dominion of local or ethnic gods was not deeply 
disturbed by the convulsions of war and the revolutions 
of empire. The intuition of the One, of whom even the 
planetary deities were only partial manifestations and embodi- 
ments, here and there asserted itself (as Delitzsch has taught 
us) thousands of years before among the elect by the rivers of 
Babylon. But only at wide intervals did such Teneriffe- 
peaks of thought shoot up above the dead level of the many 
waters of polytheism. Even amid the race-destroying trans- 
portations that formed part of the imperial policy of Asshur 
and Babel, the local gods held their seats unshaken ; the 
new-comers were merely their new subjects, who adopted 
their cult and submitted themselves to their lordship. A 
striking example is afforded in 2 Kings xvii, 24-33, where 
the five nations transported to Samaria are taught "the 
manner of the God " of their new land, and learn to " fear 


Yahveh," though still cherishing the cults of their elder 
gods. There was a powerful action and reaction at the 
appulse of Judaea and Persia, but the contact was brief and 
far from world-wide. 

100. Far more significant every way were the planet- 
ranging conquests of Alexander. That overthrow of Asiatic 
empire and civilisation by Europe, the vehement refluence 
eastward of the wave of conquest that for so many centuries 
had rolled westward, the rout and ruin of the monstrous gods 
of the Orient before the beauteous divinities of Greek mytho- 
logy — all this produced a religious fermentation profounder 
and more important than any political revolution. But the 
mighty work of Philip's warlike son was prematurely arrested, 
and his colossal empire fell instantly to pieces amid the strife 
of his successors.^ Nevertheless, the spread of Hellenic 
thought, culture, and speech over all the east was a unifying 
agency of incalculable moment. To be sure, there was 
reaction as well as action : Greek culture was debased, 
Greek speech enervated, Greek ethics and religion corrupted 
by amalgamation. 

loi. Still more important — indeed, of decisive influence — 
were the all-subduing arms and the all-ordering law of Rome. 
The Roman conquests and, above all, the Roman peace 
involved the final confutation and condemnation of poly- 
theism. For although the glorious gods of Greece might 
have been allowed, with some show of reason, to have 
triumphed over the grosser cults of Asia, yet no one could 
explain why they themselves, incomparable in beauty and 
unsurpassed in power, should go down before the borrowed 
forms and colourless abstractions of Italy. Besides, the 
universal empire of Rome and the universal intermingling 
of the peoples, coupled with the universal toleration on equal 
terms of all forms of faith and worship, not only made all 
religions known to all men, but at the same time made all of 
them nearly equally ridiculous. It was a general reductio ad 
absurdum. How could two priests, of Isis and of Artemis, 
exchange courtesies in the Forum without a smile? 

* How powerful was the subsequent reaction of the religions of the East, 
Cumont has recently made clear in his Les Religions orientales dans le Pagan- 
isme romain. 


102. Long before this, however, the widely -current 
philosophies of the pre-Socratics, of Plato, of Aristotle, of 
the Stoics and Epicureans, and of the later Academy, had 
completely undermined, and even overthrown, the national 
faiths in the minds of the cultured, and had even aroused a 
spirit of indignant rebellion against the degrading slavery 
imposed on them by the many-headed hydra of superstition, 
a feeling voiced in verses of immortal beauty by Lucretius, 
celebrating Epicurus as the deliverer of men.' But the 
contribution of philosophy towards the liberation of the 
human mind, great as it was, by no means sufficed ; for it 
did not free the enslaved masses, for whom Protagoras and 
Democritus and Carneades were but the shadows of mighty 
names. The true Deliverer was yet to come. 

103. How keenly this humiliating servitude to demons 
was felt by the ancient mind is amply attested by Christian 
as well as by profane writers. Through all the Apologies 
rings loud and clear the bugle-call to freedom. The same 
clarion note is heard in the New Testament. In Rom. viii, 
19-21 we have a striking description of the state of heathen- 
dom (17 KTicTig, the creature, here evidently means the Gentile 
world, as in Mark xvi, 15, "Preach the Gospel to all the 
creature "; which equals Matthew xxviii, 19, *' Disciple all the 
Gentiles")^: "For the yearning expectation of the creature 
awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For unto vanity 
the creature was subjected, not of its own will, but through 
Him that subjected it, in hope that the creature itself shall be 
freed from the slavery of corruption unto the freedom of the 
glory of the children of God. For we know that all the 
creature groans and travails in pain together until now." 
" Vanity " and the " slavery of corruption " mean here 
idolatry and polytheism, so fiercely assailed in the first 
chapter, verses 18-32. "Vanity," under many forms in 

' Mallock in his paraphrase would almost outwing the Roman Eagle : — 
" Him not the splintered lightnings, nor the roll 
Of thunders daunted. Undismayed, his soul 

Rose, and outsoared the thunder, plumbed the abyss, 
And scanned the wheeling worlds from pole to pole." 
* " In my name," as Conybeare seems brilliantly to prove from Eusebius 
that the earlier ante-Nicene text read (see Preuschen's Zeitschrift^ 1901, 275- 
288; also Usener, Rhn. Mus.^ 1902, 39 ff. Contra, Riggenbach, Der trin. 
Taufhefehl^ 1903). 


Hebrew, is a regular term for idols and idol-worship, and 
it is also used similarly in Acts xiv, 15 ; Eph. iv, 17. 
*' Slavery of corruption " means clearly servitude to images, 
to corruptible stocks and stones, the same bondage against 
which we find such a powerful protest in Gal. iv, 8, 9, and 
elsewhere. " The glorious freedom " is nothing but mono- 
theism, the service~of the one true God, called the Truth in 
the Johannines, as in the famous oracle (viii, 32) : ** And ye 
shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free." 
" What ? " says an objector, " were not the Jews already the 
strictest monotheists?" Certainly, they thought so; but 
some enthusiastic Christians would not admit it, as we have 
already learned from the Apology of Aristides.' Neither will 
the Fourth Evangelist ; he denies it in chap, viii, verse 42, and 
in verse 54 he declares : *' Of whom ye say that he is your God, 
yet ye have not known him." In Gal. iv, 8, 9 Christianity 
and heathenism are directly opposed as " knowing God " and 
**not knowing God." 

104. Yet, Freedom ! yet thy banner, torn, but flying, 
Streams like the thunder-storm against the wind. 
It is political freedom of which the Titan-poet speaks, at 
sight of whose banner " men have crowded the road to death 
as to a festival." It was a far more ** glorious freedom of the 
sons of God " that the early Christians proclaimed ; it was 
redemption from a far more terrible "tyranny of demons," 
which had trodden down humanity in dust and mire since the 
first syllable of recorded time. It would have been strange if 
such a banner had not been unfurled precisely at this crisis 
in the history of our race ; it would have been strange if it 
had not aroused immense enthusiasm in all ranks of society ; 
if it had not inspired its followers with a new sense of the 
dignity of man and the infinite worth of personality and the 
human soul, as well as of the universal Fatherhood of God 
and brotherhood of man, ideas which the ablest critics have 
regarded as most nearly expressing the essence of Chris- 
tianity. But these critics have never logically related these 
ideas to the early propaganda, because they have never 
thought of this propaganda as a prudently veiled and 

* And from Lactantius. See footnote, p. 38. 


cautiously guarded, but none the less intense and deter- 
mined, crusade against idolatry. 

105. If such a rebellion against polytheism was natural, 
and even inevitable, under the given conditions, it was no 
less certain that it should find its focus in the Dispersion, 
among the proselytising Jews and their Gentile proselytes, in 
that border region where the Jew and the Greek joined hands. 
For the Jew was unquestionably the one conspicuous repre- 
sentative of monotheistic theory and practice, and his sacred 
books afforded the most ample arsenal of arguments in the 
long controversy with pagandom. The writings of the 
Greek philosophers, moralists, and poets were by no means 
to be despised ; nor were they. On the contrary, the New 
Testament is vocal with echoes from Greek literature ; while 
in the apologists, as Clement, we hear the full-voiced choir 
of Hellas. Nevertheless, even Socrates offered a cock to 
Asklepios, and even ^schylus and Sophocles recognised, 
though they might have explained away, an endless multi- 
plicity of deities. It was only in the Hebrew Scriptures that 
the absolute oneness of the Godhead was enounced and 
maintained clearly, consistently, and unequivocally. Hence, 
these same Holy Scriptures formed the indispensable point 
d^appui, the base of operations, in the sacred campaign 
against All that fell by One who rose. 

106. Nevertheless, it was in the main a Greek and not a 
Hebrew consciousness that delivered the tremendous battle. 
The arms were the arms of Jacob, but the sinews were the 
sinews of Japheth. It was most natural that the Jews in 
general should never have felt that this warfare was their 
own. To be sure, it championed their central dogma, but 
only in a sense different from the original, a sense to which 
the great majority of them had never attained, and which 
involved concessions and renunciations they were naturally 
very slow to make. This attitude of reserve on the part of 
the Jew has found frequent expression in the New Testament, 
to which explicit attention is called in the following pages. 
He is, e,g.j the Rich One of Mark x, 17-31 ; the Dives of 
Luke xvi, 19-31. It was hard indeed for him to enter the 
Kingdom into which Gentiles were admitted on equal terms. 
He has never been able to do it. Neither could the call to 


Freedom awaken in his soul the same echo as in the Gentile's, 
for it did not smite upon the same reverberating conscious- 
ness of servitude to demons. The Gospel message could not 
have been laden with its full import for Jews who were justly- 
proud of their immemorial henotheism. 

107. This fact and this feeling are set in bold and striking 
relief by the fourth Evangelist (viii, 32-33) : *' And ye shall 
know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free. They 
answered unto him. We be Abraham's seed, and never yet 
have been in bondage to anyone." What bondage is 
meant? Surely not political, for the race had passed most 
of its history, and was even then, in political bondage. Nor 
yet moral, in spite of the allusion in verse 34 to sin. The 
bondage is religious. The Jews boasted of their monotheism, 
their knowledge of the true God, derived from Abraham. 
They had never served any false god. It is this that the 
Evangelist denies, as did Aristides. He will not admit that 
they are true monotheists, true God-worshippers (viii, 39, 40). 
Nay, they are not God's children, that is, worshippers of God.' 
They are the devil's children, worshippers (in some way) of 
the devil, whose works they do (viii, 41). Undoubtedly the 
Jews here suffer gross injustice, but they never fare well at 
Johannine hands. This long passage, however, merely 
elaborates a synoptic idea very briefly expressed (Matt, iii, 9 ; 
Luke iii, 8) : " And think not to say within yourselves. We 
have Abraham to our father : for I say unto you, that God 
is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." 
Again the monotheistic boast ; but a vain one ! For God 
could make the stones sons of Abraham. This can mean 
nothing (as Zahn, who is so often right, perceives, p. 135) 
but the conversion of the heathen.^ Precisely the same 
sense is found in Luke xix, 40 : "The stones will cry out" — 
t.e.y the heathen will accept the Jesus-cult with acclamation. / 

108. To the Jew the glorious doctrine of monotheism 

^ Whether there lies hidden therein any Marcionitic contrast between the 
Jewish God and the true Good God is a subtle question that need not now be 

^ In Greek and other mythologies stones were turned into men, and stone 
was not an uncommon word for a dolt ; it might well be used to denote such as 
actually worshipped stocks and stones. Here, however, it seems to be used 
in a play on words : For sons would be Unayya\ and stones v^o\x\di be 'aVnayya* 
— the difference in pronunciation is hardly more than perceptible. 


belonged of right by inheritance from Abraham, who first of 
men (in Jewish story) had faith in the one God and went 
forth a true monotheist from the land of idolatry. But the 
new monotheism they did not accept ; they were shut out 
from the Kingdom, though themselves its children ; and the 
Gentiles from every quarter of the compass, carried by angels 
to Abraham's bosom, enter in and share it with the ancient 
Faithful. This " great refusal " of the Jews is represented 
again in more fearful colours a.s a. ^* Surrender^' (not Betrayal) 
of the Jesus by Judas (z.^., Judasus) (I)Scariot {t.e,y Surren- 
derer^ 6 Trapa^ovg) as is proved in proper place). It is, indeed, 
the greatest of all national tragedies, stretching out its 
tremendous length through all succeeding centuries. 

109. Herewith the circuit of thought marked out for this 
Introduction is nearly completed. It is now seen that the 
title Der vorchristliche Jesus given to the earlier work is 
every way far more than justified. The central fact demand- 
ing explanation is the worship of the Jesus, a worship that 
did not grow up gradually, but is full grown from the very 
earliest New Testament times. Unless this be explained, all 
other explanations, however interesting, lose their import- 
ance, for we cannot be sure of the correctness of any detail 
until this central all-regulative fact is fully accounted for. 
Now, since this fact meets us at the very threshold of 
Christianity, it must find its explanation in something pre- 
Christian. Even if we had no evidence whatever of a pre- 
Christian Jesus-cult, we should be compelled to affirm its 
existence with undiminished decision. A cult of a deity 
could not have sprung up in a day or in a year. No con- 
ceivable series of events, even though they were miracles, in 
a short or even a long human life, could account for the 
worship by his disciples of a mere man Jesus, as the highest 
God, immediately following his execution and burial, and 
still less for his worship as such and exaltation to the throne 
of the universe, as eternally pre-existent God, by the perse- 
cutor Saul. There must have been a pre-Christian cult of 
a pre-Christian divinity. This hypothesis is absolutely 
unavoidable. It meets you full in the face whatever way 
you turn. Moreover, it is overwhelmingly attested by the 
New Testament itself, which clearly shows that the cult was 


esoteric long before it became exoteric, that what is commonly 
supposed to have been the beginning of the cult was merely 
its bursting into full and perfect bloom. " First blade, then 
ear, then full corn in the ear" (Mark iv, 28). It is wholly 
unallowable to omit or to reduce the preliminary stages. 

no. Finally, the proclamation of monotheism is the only 
adequate essence that can be attributed to Christianity. The 
notion that this essence consists in any kind of moral teaching 
is utterly impossible. The instinct of man has always 
rejected, and will always reject, any such minimisation and 
degradation of the Gospel message. The Andean, the 
Himalayan summits of ethics, are not reached in the New 
Testament. No such dizzy altitudes of unmixed morality 
are there attained as in the second book of the Republic of 
Plato. No ! The error of criticism at this point is fatal ; its 
malady is immedicable. As against the critics, the Church 
is in this regard eternally right. Christianity is not 
morality ; it is religion, it is theoseby — the worship of the 
One God.' 'Tf anyone be theosebes and do his will, him he 
hears " (John ix, 31). 

111. Moreover, it is this content, and this alone, that can 
account for the swift and tremendous triumph of the ever- 
lasting Gospel. What was that " everlasting Gospel " borne 
on angel wings through mid-heaven, and proclaimed by 
angel voice to all dwellers upon earth ? It was exactly what 
we have found at every turn to be the one and only original 
content of Christianity: "Fear God and give him glory" 
(Rev. xiv, 7). Behold the Siimma Evangelii! 

112. No wonder that such a gospel, at such a time, broke 
the deep slumber of idolatry like a clap of Dantean thunder. 
And what other proclamation could thus have roused a 
world, dissolved the fetters of the tyrannising demons, set 
free the prisoners of superstition, poured light upon the eyes 
of the blind, and called a universe to life? Could any moral 
precepts or ethical example have developed such miraculous 
powers? Assuredly not ! Nay, even if there had been pro- 
claimed a new and superior rule of life and sociologic system, 

* For the contrast of the religious with the ethical point of view compare 
the Gospel doctrine of the first commandment (Mark xii, 29, 30) with Lucan's 
mighty line {Phar. i, 128) : Victrix causa deis placuit, sed victa Catoni. 


it might have offered themes for learned and acute discussion, 
or even provided a basis for wise legislation and righteous 
judgment, but nothing more. Never could it have renewed 
the face of creation, never have inspired whole armies of 
martyrs, never have chased the demons into the sea. Who 
has ever been enthused by a doctrine of ethics — no matter 
how stern and awful, like the categorical imperative of Kant ; 
no matter how persuasive and winning, like the sentiment- 
alism of Shaftesbury ? 

113. And only consider how utterly absurd and nugatory 
would have been any other publication of a world-religion ! 
Let anyone imagine the Apostles, like the Apologists, pro- 
claiming the One God as against many idols, under the name 
and attributes of the all-healing, all-saving, demon-expelling 
Jesus. At once we see that arguments must have poured in 
upon them from every side ; the arrows of thought must 
have leaped in eager tempest from their minds. But now 
figure them setting forth the life and character of a Galilean 
peasant, no matter how beautiful and attractive ; let us fancy 
them preaching that they had visions of him after his death 
on the cross ; let us suppose that they called upon their 
hearers to believe in these visions, and to worship this peasant 
as God himself, throned in the highest heavens ; and let us 
imagine them trying to work all manner of miracles in his 
name. Would it have been possible for any man of even 
ordinary intelligence not to regard such preachers as madmen? 
Would he not at least have called on them for some slight 
semblance of proof of these amazing pretensions? And 
what proofs could they have produced? Beyond their own 
statements, absolutely nothing whatever ! For such a gospel 
to have swept over all the highly cultured Roman Empire, 
resistless as "a flame through fields of ripened corn," would 
have been a miracle, beside which the resurrection of Lazarus 
would vanish into nothingness. No ! The original ever- 
lasting Gospel was the proclamation (veiled at first, but after- 
wards open) of a sublime and inspiring faith and worship, 
the cult of the One God, the Jesus, the Christ, the Saviour, 
the Guardian, the Lord of heaven and earth, whose name is 



OLTLvd ecTTiv dXXrjyopovixeva. — Gal. iv, 24. 


I. Recently the earnest suggestion coming from high 
sources has reached the writer, that he should make 
accessible to the public some of the more readily intelli- 
gible portions of the long since accumulated, and still 
accumulating, proofs of the original pure Godhead and 
non-humanity of the Founder of Christianity. The wisdom 
of such a suggestion seems indisputable on reflection that no 
one knows how nigh Azrael may be standing, and it would 
certainly be better to leave in print some indications, however 
inadequate, of the line of argument than to leave practically 
none at all. For in Der vorchristliche Jesus it was only a few 
"positive assertions" that were established "irrefutably," 
only a few positive tokens of a pre-Christian Jesus and 
Jesus-cult that received any attention. Studiously the 
" negative phase " was kept out of sight, or at least as far 
in the background as possible. Only in one passage, in the 
"Vorrede," did this "negative phase" come to half-way 
explicit statement, and then not as anything whose proof was 
to be attempted in the book in question. In the author's 
mind, indeed, it was far less immediate and important than 
the " positive assertions." That the Jesus was divine in the 
primitive Christian conception, that from this central and 
original notion of his divinity the whole Christian movement 
was to be studied and comprehended — this seemed, and still 
seems, to the author to be the supremely significant and 
regulative fact, beside which the "negative phase," the fact 
that he was not an historical man like Napoleon or 
Mohammed, sinks into a very secondary position. How- 
ever, it was not unnatural, nor indeed unexpected, that the 



majority would exactly reverse this relation, that they would 
pass lightly over the positive and dwell fixedly on the 
negative element. 

2. Such being the case, this latter could not, of course, be 
permanently neglected. On the contrary, it called loudly for 
the minutest and most painstaking treatment, nor could it 
ever have been in the mind of the author to let the reader 
wait long for some publication touching this more interesting 
aspect of the matter. But just because it was felt that this 
"negative phase" required far more thorough-going treat- 
ment than was possible in that book, the discussion of it was 
adjourned, and consideration was confined strictly to the 
"positive assertions." So conscientiously was this programme 
carried out that more than one distinguished critic failed to 
see the " negative phase" at all — e.g,j the Abbe Loisy in the 
Revue Critique and the Rev. Newton Mann in the revised 
edition of his Evolution of a Great Literature — however much 
both were impressed with the "positive assertions." Never- 
theless, the majority have undoubtedly seemed to perceive 
this " negative phase," if only as a reticent and unregistered 
corollary from the affirmative ; and some have even allowed 
that perception to cloud their judgment, as Wernle, who 
roars at the book in five columns of the Theologische 

3. But, however near-lying this corollary, they are right 
who hold that it is not contained immediately in the positions 
established in the book. Indubitably myths and legends' do 
gather like clouds round the mountain-high personalities of 
history. So much one may concede freely and fully, though 
setting little store by the Napoleon myths, whether of Per^s 
or of Whately, which are to be regarded as trivialities quite 
unworthy of their authors. The fact that a myth, or several 
myths, may be found associated with the name of an 
individual by no means relegates that individual into the 
class of the unhistorical. Far less, however, does it weigh 
in favour of his actual historicity. If the mountain-top be 

* Hereby it is not implied that the present writer regards the narratives 
concerning Jesus as either myths or legends ; he regards them as symbols, 
consciously chosen at first and in some cases afterwards consciously 
elaborated and dramatised, always with didactic purpose. 


there, the clouds will indeed gather round it : we may often 
explain the legends from the presence of the historic 
personality, mdepe7idently known to be historic. But the 
mere existence of the clouds can never attest the presence of 
the mountain ; for clouds also gather over plains and over 
seas. So, too, the legends cannot of themselves bear witness 
to some central underlying historic personality ; for they 
often enough engirdle a name that is name only, perhaps of 
a great Idea, but not of any flesh-and-blood personality. 
The arguments, however, that do seem to establish " the 
negative phase" have not yet been put into print — at least 
to my knowledge — and are of a nature, perhaps, as yet rarely 
conjectured. Some few of them only, for their name is 
legion, it is the object of this work to exhibit. 

4. It will be conceded that if the Jesus was an historic 
man of flesh and blood, then he must have been a most 
remarkable personality. Eucken would certainly be justified 
in speaking of '* the supreme personality and the constructive 
life-work of Jesus," and of his "incomparable spiritual 
individuality." We may not be able to say just in what 
his distinction lay, but there can be no question that it must 
have been real and without any historical parallel. For such 
supposed myths and legends of miracles, of supernatural 
birth, sacrificial death, resurrection, ascension, divine power, 
and the like, could certainly not attach themselves quickly in 
that age and clime to any man even of extraordinary stamp, 
unless he were beyond measure notable and distinguished 
from all other men. Peter, Paul, John the Baptist, John the 
Evangelist, and their peers were remarkable men, imposing 
personalities. Yet we do not hear very soon of any 
independent supernatural exploits of these men ; the miracles 
imputed to them were comparatively insignificant, and 
performed by them in the Name of Jesus, or else as his 
representatives. It must be clear as noon to any unpre- 
judiced eye that the Jesus stands altogether alone in early 
Christian story.' 

5. Even such a character as Paul, whom some regard as 

' Some of the present considerations have already been advanced under 
another g-uise in this volume ; a brief restatement here is necessary to 
introduce the minuter argument. 


the real founder of Christianity, and all admit must have been 
a most noteworthy person ; even he and the Baptist, who was 
remarkable enough to receive notice from Josephus and to 
hold together for some time a body of disciples ; even they and 
Peter, who attained such conspicuous leadership among the 
disciples and such unparalleled authority in the traditions of 
the Church — even these cannot for an instant be named in the 
same line with Jesus, nor in the second nor in the third line 
after him. Everyone must perceive that they do not belong 
in the same class ; the Jesus is entirely sui generis, altogether 
unique and incomparable. 

6. Now, if the orthodox position be correct, this is 
perfectly intelligible, and exactly as it should be ; we are 
not, however, contesting orthodoxy, nor concerned with it 
now and here. But if the critical or Unitarian view be 
correct, then this uniqueness in the representation of the 
Jesus in early sources must be accounted for, must be made 
understandable. The only way to account for the utter 
singularity of this early conception and representation is to 
suppose that the Jesus was, if not a wholly unique personality 
(which would hardly differ from a divinity), yet at least an 
every way wonderful personality, in kind and degree far 
surpassing any other of which we have any record. 

7. Such is, indeed, the thesis of modern liberal criticism,' 
which cannot find terms quite strong enough to express its 
conception of this amazing individuality, which was indeed 
(ex hypothesi) only a man, and yet in some mysterious way 
surpassed all other men, so far as to be deified shortly after 
his humiliating death, and to inspire his most intimate 
disciples with unshakable faith in his Resurrection from the 
grave, his ascension into heaven, and his co-equality with 
God himself in the government of the universe. Hence 
the infinitely minute and loving care with which iki^ character- 
picture of the Jesus, as supposedly given in the New 
Testament, has been studied, to discern and to lay bare and 
to exhibit just what was the peculiar distinction of this 

^ But in its very latest pronouncements, frightened at the obvious 
consequences of its own conception of the over-mastering- personality of 
Jesus, it begins to hedge, and gravely to question whether he was so very 
wonderful after all ! whether not merely an eschatological enthusiast ! 


wondrous man, that made him so unexampled in his 
influence over men, and, if not strictly divine, yet so sur- 
passingly great, beautiful, sublime, attractive, fascinating — 
away with words ! — so infinitely superior to all other men 
that even his disciples, who did not at all understand or 
appreciate him, could yet not refrain from worshipping him 
as God. 

8. We all know what desperate and devoted endeavours 
of this kind have been made, how such men as Harnack 
have struggled to discover and express the essence of 
Christianity, how Chamberlain has tried to fathom the 
secret' of the Christus, and Keim, and Volkmar, and 
Renan, and Bousset, and Schmiedel, and von Soden, and a 
hundred others. It is impossible not to admire the learning 
and devotion, the zeal and the acumen, that they have 
displayed in such endeavours ; it is equally impossible to 
deny or to disguise the fact that, one and all, they have 
been absolute failures ; the results have been absurdly and 
ridiculously disproportioned to the immense powers enlisted 
in the attempts. Parturiiint monies^ nascitur ridiculus mus. 
Never did this line find more perfect application. 

9. It is forever impossible to find in the Gospel narrative 1 
— if we eliminate the supernatural element, as these critics 
uniformly do — more than (at the utmost) a very wise, 
amiable, admirable, spiritual, kind-hearted, deep-thoughted, 
heavenly-minded, somewhat mystical and God-intoxicated 
Jewish Rabbi. ^ Such men, like Gautama, have lived and 
died, have gathered disciples about them, and been venerated 

^ This secret he discovers — mirabile dictu! — in the oracle, "The Kingdom 
of heaven is within you" — misunderstood to mean "in your hearts, your 
inmost selves." That such a meaning- is impossible is clear, from the fact 
that the Jesus is here (Luke xvii, 20, 21) addressing not his disciples, but the 
hostile Pharisees. The word evrds here means not within^ but among, in the 
midst of. The Kingdom, at first a secret society, was indeed unobserved 
among them. The notion that this " Kingdom of heaven " is a state of mind 
(like Boston), on which Chamberlain bases his whole interesting chapter 
on the " incomparable phenomenon of Christ," is indeed magnificent, but 
contradicted scores of times in the New Testament. 

^ Not even such a character has been deciphered or restored from the 
New Testament records with persuasive, not to say convincing, clearness. 
The genial biographers and interpreters of the Jesus, gazing steadfastly into 
the crystal sea of the Gospels, have beheld each his own image transfigured 
in those placid depths. No wonder, then, that iheit Jesusbild \\bra.ies between 
the " sweet reasonableness " of Arnold and the " folic dissimul^e " of Binet- 



by these disciples for many years ; at death they have been 
mourned for many days and months, their memory has been 
cherished, their ipse dixit has become authoritative, and 
perhaps exaggerated stories, or even miraculous legends, 
have gradually gathered about their names. Had the 
disciples of the Jesus done any or all of these things, or 
even much of some similar kind, then the theory of the noble 
and lovable Rabbi might be readily accepted. 

10. But the fact is that they did (so far as we can ascertain) 
nothing of the kind at all. The criticism we are criticising 
discloses in the conduct of the disciples none of the features 
that would have been natural and inevitable in the conduct 
of Jewish disciples of a beloved Rabbi. Neither the record 
as it stands nor the record as purged, purified, and recreated 
by the critics can show any natural procedure on the part of 
these supposed loving disciples of a loving Rabbi. 

11. What (according to the critics) do they do? They 
have visions of their master; they believe he has risen from 
the dead and ascended to heaven ; they begin to preach an 
elaborate system of salvation, and to work miracles in his 
name ! All attempts to understand such a procedure as the 
result of impressions made on the minds of the disciples by a 
few months' conversation with a Jewish Rabbi are worse than 
futile. As well might we suppose that under the delirium of 
their memories they would have tried to jump to the moon ! 

12. This is not nearly all, however. It happens that we 
have positive proof that this association and resulting 
impression had absolutely nothing to do with personal 
discipleship, with devotion to the Christian propaganda and 
consecration to the cause and worship of Jesus. For the 
greatest of all the Apostles, who in zeal and self-sacrifice, as 
well as in success, far outran all the rest, the Apostle to the 
Gentiles, was not a personal disciple of the Jesus, whom 
apparently he never met in the flesh, against whose ostensible 
personal following he is represented as violently enraged. 
Here, then, is demonstration that the very strongest personal 
attachment to the Jesus, the very liveliest affection for the 
Jesus, did not imply any knowledge whatever of him as a 
man. Now, we ask, if we must explain the unparalleled 
enthusiasm of Paul for the Jesus as enthusiasm for a 


heavenly Being, whom he had never known as an earthly 
man, why may we not explain the milder enthusiasm of 
Peter and John similarly? What do we gain by imagining 
a wonderful human personality to account for their devotion, 
when we must account for a higher devotion without 
reckoning with any such personality at all ? This con- 
sideration seems perfectly decisive against the supposed 
need of a wondrous human personality to explain the conduct 
of the disciples. 

13. But an even weightier consideration is yet to follow. 
The critics would outvie each other in exalted conceptions of 
this man, the Jesus. No one denies or will deny that the 
human personality, if such there was, must have been in the 
highest degree extraordinary. If the miracles were actually 
performed, then the fame of the wonder-worker must have 
been very great. It must have reached the ears of Jews and 
Gentiles alike throughout Palestine, as indeed is expressly said 
in the Gospels. In that case it would seem exceeding strange 
that no hint of such a prodigy meets us anywhere in con- 
temporaneous records, especially nowhere in Josephus. 
Some early Christian must have felt this lacuna keenly, for 
he has filled it up with the well-known interpolation 
{Ant. xviii, 3, 3), wherein the hand of the Christian is 
plainly to be seen. Josephus has not failed to tell us of John 
the Baptist, and behold a greater than the Baptist is here. 
Why, then, did he not mention some of the astounding events 
that mark the career of the Jesus ? The only answer is that 
he was unfriendly to the Christians, and did not care to honour^ 
them with any notice. But such an inadequate answer would 
be neither suggested nor accepted, except in the case of 
dire need and the lack of any other. Similar and of similar 
significance is the silence of the contemporary Jewish 
historian Justus, as attested by Photius, and of Philo, the 
Jewish Plato. 

14. However, the critics whom we have in mind will 
reply that the mighty works of the Gospel were wrought only 
in the imagination of the writers, that Josephus and Justus 
and Philo did not allude to them, for the very good reason 
that they were later inventions of the evangelical fancy. 
Even though as much should be granted, it would still 


remain true that the personality must have been all the more 
remarkable^ it m,ust have been superhumanly wonderful^ to 
have gathered round it so speedily such an unprecedented 
nimbus of miracles. The elision of the many miracles does 
not mend matters at all ; it merely makes the One Miracle 
still more stupendous. Well, such a marvellous character 
must have attracted wide attention, and his crucifixion must 
have been a notable occurrence: why, then, does not 
Josephus, why does not Justus, why does not any profane 
authority mention it?' 


15. All this, however, is only preliminary. We come 
now to the vital point. Such an unexampled personage as 
the Jesus is universally assumed to have been must have 
made the deepest impression on the minds of his disciples. 
Why^ then, do we find no traces of any such impression ? It is 
a fact that in the preaching of the Apostles, as recorded in 
Acts, we can discover practically no marks whatever of any 
personal acquaintance with the Jesus. The preaching of 
Peter and Stephen and Philip stands upon the same footing, 
revolves in the same circle, with that of Paul. They appeal 
to the Scriptures, to certain necessities of exegesis, but never 
to any biographical facts of their own knowledge. They 
never say. We heard the Jesus say this and this, nor We saw 
him do so and so. No one can get the impression from 
reading Peter's speeches that he is talking about a marvellous 
man, the Jesus, whom he had known and loved. The allu- 
sions to " signs and wonders " and the '' hanging on a tree '* 
are merely perfunctory or else dogmatic. 

16. In one single passage, strongly interpolated and 
quite unparsable, the Jesus is indeed described in these 
words: "Jesus, him of Nazareth, how God anointed him 
with holy spirit and with power, who traversed benefiting 
and healing all those dominated by the Devil, because God 
was with him, and we (are) witnesses of all that he did, both 
in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom also they 

* Elsewhere in this book the reader will find the " Silence of Josephus " 
discussed at length. 


executed, having hung upon wood. This one God raised on 
the third day and gave him to be made manifest, not to all 
the people, but to witnesses, those predesignated by God, us 
who ate and drank with him after he arose from (the) dead." 
So it is written. But that Peter never pronounced it thus 
is certain ; for he would hardly have spoken even in that 
presence of the deeds of Jesus **in the land of the Jews and in 
Jerusalem," since those deeds were not done in **the land of 
the Jews " (even if Peter could have used such an expression), 
but were practically peculiar to Galilee. 

17. Moreover, the critics against whom these lines are 
levelled cannot admit that Peter could speak of eating and 
drinking with the risen Jesus; by no stretch of the imagination 
could he and the rest {" we ") eat and drink wM a vision (such 
as these critics esteem the Risen to have been). Plainly the I 
passage has been worked over by a later hand, and illustrates 
the extremely significant fact that the earliest documents con- li 
tain in effect no reference to the human but only to the divine// 
Jesus,, whereas the humanisation of this divinity proceeds 
apace' as we descend the stream of tradition. This fact is 
vividly exemplified in the Gospels. What clearer indication 
could be given of the primitive divinity of the Jesus? 

18. The main point, however, lies in the two words 
"traversed benefiting" (went about doing good).^ This 
phrase is supposed to be peculiarly descriptive of the Jesus 
as pre-eminently the good man, going hither and thither, 
doing good wherever opportunity offered. It is true that the 
Gospels supply no basis for this conception, but it certainly 
is the conception not only prevailing at present, but established 
and almost exclusive. 

19. Let us consider, however. The Greek word" does 
not mean "went about";" it means "went through," 
"traversed." It would be hard to find a certain example in 
Greek literature of this word used of a person in the sense of 
"go about," though it may in a very few cases have some 
such object as the land or his life omitted, to be supplied 
from the context. Thus in Acts viii. 4 we read : " They 
therefore having been scattered went through (the land) 

$iri\Qev evepyerwv. ' diijXdev, 


preaching the word,"' and the verb should perhaps be 
rendered departed^ as it was rendered in Acts xiii, 14, where 
the revisers render it by passing through^ as also in viii, 40. 
If the word means this and not " went about " in Acts xiii, 14, 
and viii, 40, it seems hard to find good reason for rendering it 
by " went about" in viii, 4 and x, 38. 

20. Be this as it may, the kernel of the matter is this : the 
term " benefiting """ is a favourite technical word in the 
Gnosticism of Basilides, where it is continually used in con- 
nection with the "Sonship." In describing the function of 
the Jesus, he declares (according to Hippolytus, Ref. vii, 27) : 
" And through him was purified the Sonship the third, that 
had been left behind for the benefiting and being benefited, ^ 
and ascended toward the blessed Sonship through all these 
traversing. "4 Again (vii, 26), he says that " all the Sonship 
that had been left for benefiting the souls in Formlessness^ 
and being benefited, having been transformed followed the 
Jesus," &c. Again (vii, 22) : '* Basilides calls such not wind, 
but holy spirit, which the Sonship benefits, having put it on, 
and is benefited." Again (vii, 25), speaking of the entrance 
of the Gospel into the world (which is little different from the 
entry of the Jesus), Basilides declares, it ''traversed^ every 
Principality and Authority and Dominion and every Name 
named, and it came in reality though nought descended from 
above. " These few examples show that the terms '' benefiting " 
and " traversed " were technical with Basilides in speaking of 
the Sonship. The same notion of "traversing" is found in 
Heb. iv, 14 : " Having therefore a great High Priest that has 
traversed^ the heavens, Jesus the Son of God," &c. 

21. Of course, these notions were not original with 
Basilides, great organiser of thought though he was. In 
the Naassene Hymn,^ which such as Harnack and Preuschen 
recognise as ''very old," which there is no reason whatever 
for regarding as post-Christian, we read of this same Jesus, 

^ Though here ^ reads ^\Qov and not St^XdoVy so that either the ]j>^-scribe is 
correct, in which case diyfKdov is an error, or else is a corrector of dtijXdov, 
which he felt to be an error — for mere carelessness on his part is unlikely. 

=* evepyerwv. 3 irpbs rb ei/efyyerelv Kai eiefyyeretadai. '♦ SteXdovaa. 

5 els rb eiiep-yeTeiv ^ dcrjXde. 7 5i€Xr]Xvd6Ta. 

s Hilg-enfeld (K.d. U., p. 260): "Welcher freilich der alteren Gnosis noch 
naher steht"; and this "elder Gnosis" w&s proto-Chrtsttan. 


in the bosom of the Father, viewing sympathetically the woe 
of the world (polytheism), and declaring he will descend 
through all the aeons to the rescue of humanity (from 
idolatry) : — 

Therefore send me, Father ; 

Bearing- seals I shall descend, 

^ons all I shall fare through,^ 

Mysteries all I shall open up. 

Forms of gods I shall show ; 

And the secrets of the holy way, 

Having called it Gnosis, I shall deliver up. 

Here the case is presented in elemental form, with all 
desirable clearness ; the Jesus is to issue from the bosom 
of the Father, is to fare through all the asons on his mission 
of mercy, and descend to men on earth below to save them 
through the holy way of the Gnosis, or, as we should now say, 
of the Gospel (compare ''Gnosis of salvation," Luke i, 77).^ y^ 
22. Inasmuch as it seems morally certain that these oldest I 
of the Gnostics were pre-Christian, ^ it would appear estab- / 
lished that this idea of traversing (or faring through) benefiting I 
is a pre-Christian idea, and refers primarily, not to going 
about the country of Galilee doing little deeds of kindness (a 
relatively modern conception of which there is no sign in the 
Gospel), but to the infinitely sublimer outward transit of the 
divine Jesus earthward, through the aeons that envelop like so 
many concentric spherical shells the central Godhead Supreme. 
Here is a thought really worthy of those ancient profound 
theosophists who said " Beginning of perfection is knowledge 
of man, but knowledge of God is perfection consummated"; 
whereas the ordinary notion, which degrades the Jesus into 

^ 5io5ei;<rw. 

^ In Theol. Rundschau (Oct., 191 1, p. 384) the editor, Professor Bousset, in 
an article notable for its concessions to " D. v. J.", suspects the text of this 
Hymn, and suggests " Spake then Nus " {pk{p)vov%) in lieu of " Spake then 
Jesus " (StTjo-ous). A counsel of despair, but, as Bousset himself " lays no weight " 
thereon, enough to remark that, if he were right, Nus, like Logos, would be 
only another name for Jesus, and the situation would hardly be altered. B. 
thinks the Naassenes certainly " Christian"; and if he means proto-Christian, 
who would deny? They were the first Gnostics, "and as, indeed, is self- 
evident, progenitors of Gnosticism" (Badham, Theol. Tijdsch.^ 191 1> p* 420) ; 
and the Gnosis was an early name for the Christian movement. 

3 "So out 'bf this conception arose the pair of notions •pneurtiatic' and 
* psychic,' even before Paul ; that Gnosticism, in its fundamental conceptions, 
antedates this apostle is also lexically established " (Reitzenstein, Die Helle- 
nistichen Mysterie7ireligionen), 


something like a benevolent dervish, seems to be a positive 

23. Some will, of course, say that Basilides took these 
terms from Acts x, 38 ; but this is entirely inconceivable. 
The evolution of the Gnostic systems from the New Testa- 
pent is quite unthinkable, and unbiassed critics are per- 
ceiving every day more clearly that Gnosticism antedates 
Christianity ; and the writer seems to have proved clearly in 
a work (yet in MS.) on " Gnostic Elements in the New 
Testament" that the New Testament parallels to preserved 
Gnostic passages are almost Vrthout exception younger than 
their Gnostic correspondents. This is shown by the fact that 
the connection is uniformly better in the Gnostic context, and 
the passage much more intelligible.^ Now, the context in 

^ This proposition seems quite too important to be left hung on the air ; the 
supports are to be found in a careful analysis of scores of parallels in the 
Gnostic writings and the New Testament, which is, of course, impossible in 
this connection. One striking example is given later (p. 133) in the discussion 
of the Ektroma. A single additional illustration may suffice to show the 
nature of the proof elaborated in the unpublished work already mentioned. 

In Col. ii, 8-15 occurs a passage of deepest darkness. It seems really 
amazing that anyone could write sentence after sentence of such impenetrable 
obscurity ; in fact, it appears psychologically impossible that any teacher such 
as the epistolist certainly was should address such things to a consciousness 
that had not long been familiar with a great body of doctrine in which the 
mysterious phrases used were catchwords, meaningless to us, but full ot 
meaning to the persons addressed, faintly suggesting the technical terminology 
now current among the followers of Mrs. Eddy. It is especially verses 13-15 
that we must now consider: "And you, being dead through your trespasses 
and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you did he quicken together with him, 
having forgiven us all our trespasses ; having blotted out the bond written in 
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us : and he hath taken 
it out of the way, nailing it to the cross ; having put off from himself the 
principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing 
over them in it." Notice the want of connection in thought. Verse 14 speaks, 
apparently, of the abolition of the Law, abolished through the death on the 
cross ; this might be understood. But v. 15 straightway turns the thought 
into a wholly different channel : " having stripped off (as a garment) the 
principalities," &c. The text is very uncertain, as might be expected. Some 
witnesses omit " the principalities and the powers," others add " the flesh." 
So the Fathers understood it, as testify the phrases exuens se came, spolians se 
came, exutus carnem, exutionem corporis. This putting off" the flesh on the 
cross seems intelligible, but putting off" principalities and powers — ! Again, 
the nailing of '•^ the manuscript" (of the Law) to the cross is a bewildering 
phrase. Such treatment of a manuscript looks far more like publication, 
official proclamation, than annulment. Common sense seems to cry out that 
it was his body that was nailed to the cross, and that the original reference 
must have been to the body. 

Now turn for a moment to the Docetic doctrine reported by Hippolytus, 
He/., viii, 10 : " Having come from above, he put on the begotten (body) and 
did all things just as has been written in the Gospels ; he washed (himself) in 
Jordan, but he washed, having received type and seal, in the water, of the 


which the passage can be best understood is the original 
context ; it is transference and adaptation to new surroundings 
that make it unnatural and bewildering. Hence we conclude 
that the phrase " traversed benefiting " has been taken from 
Gnosticism and applied to the Jesus in this ostensible speech 
of Peter. That such spiritual benefiting was really in the 
writer's mind is shown further by the following explicative 
clause: "and healing all those dominated by the Devil" — 
where the "and" seems to be emphatic and to mean "that 
is"; and the casting-out of demons (as we shall see) is 
nothing less than the overthrow of idolatry, the conquest 
of the heathen gods, which is here, as everywhere in the 
early apologists, correctly reckoned as the specific mission 
and activity of the Jesus. 


24. When now we inquire of the Apocalypse, the report 
is not different. However many details about this book may 

body beg-otten from the Virgin, in order that, when the Archon should condemn 
his own proper figment to death, to the cross, that soul nourished in the body, 
having put off the body, and having nailed it to the cross, and having triumphed 
through it over the principalities and the powers, might not be found naked, 
but might put on, instead of that flesh, the body typified in the water when he 
was baptised." 

Surely no fair-minded man can deny that this passage, however fantastic, 
is clear as noonday, compared with the Colossian text. The Docetist held 
that the baptism in the Jordan was a symbolism expressing the putting on by 
the Jesus of another (spiritual) body, the type and seal of the body derived 
from the Virgin ; when this latter (body) was nailed to the cross, the Jesus 
stripped it off from himself, but was not left a naked (disembodied) spirit ; on 
the contrary, was still clothed in the spiritual body that he had put on in 
baptism ; and by means of this spiritual body, he triumphed over all the 
principalities and powers led by the Archon, which had thought to end his life 
on the cross, but had merely succeeded in destroying a flesh-body, leaving the 
true spirit-body intact and triumphant. The doctrine is so plain and self- 
consistent as to need no further commentary. 

Notice, now, that the Docetic and the Colossian passage cannot be 
unrelated — the verbal agreements are altogether too close. Such extra- 
ordinary phrases as "having stripped off the body, and having nailed it to 
the wood " {direKdvaafx^pr] rb (rQfxa Kal irpoarfkfhcraaa irpbs rd ^ij\ov), and " having 
triumphed through it over the principalities and the powers " {dpiafjL^eOa-aa-a 
5t' aiiTov ras dpxds Kal rds i^ovalas), could never have originated twice inde- 
pendently. They are not difficult, but perfectly natural in the Docetic context ; 
they are not only unnatural, but virtually incomprehensible in Colossians. The 
inference is obvious. Moreover, that the Docetist is not quoting from the 
Epistle is clear to see in the fact that no allusion is made to it, but instead 
there is a very different reference — namely : " This it is," he (the Docetist) says, 
" that the Saviour speaks. Unless one be born of water and spirit, one shall not 
enter into the kingdom of the heavens, because the begotten of the flesh is 
flesh " — closely agreeing with John iii, 5, 6. 


remain in doubt, despite the most learned and illuminating 
labours of a host of savants, it is enough for our purpose 
that it represents, at least in part, a comparatively early stage 
of the Propaganda. Now what is the figure of the Jesus in 
this volume? Four times the name appears with the suffix 
Christ, and ten times without. In none of these cases is 
there the slightest allusion to the personality or the life- 
history of the Jesus. Six times the phrase is ** witness^ of 
Jesus"; once it is ''Jesus Christ the witness,^ the faithful"; 
once it is "those keeping the commandments of God and the 
faith of Jesus " ; twice it is " the Lord Jesus " ; once " the 
blood of the witnesses of Jesus"; once it is ''Revelation of 
Jesus Christ"; once it is "I Jesus sent mine angel"; once 
it is simply " In Jesus." This witness, then, to the human 
personality of the Jesus is zero. 

25. But far more conspicuous than Jesus in this Apocalypse 
is the Little Lamb,^ occurring twenty-eight times. This 

The state of the case now seems plain enough : the Docetic doctrine and 
phraseology were known to the epistolist ; the latter pleased him, the former 
did not. He attempted to bring in the high-flown Docetic expressions in 
speaking of a wholly different theme, the abolition (by the Jesus-cult) of the 
religious distinction of Jew and Gentile. Hence he talks of him as having 
nailed the hand-writing (the Law) to the cross (which is utterly inappropriate), 
and of having stripped off the principalities and the powers (which is senseless), 
of his having triumphed over them (where ayroi^s is of wrong gender and the 
whole is unthinkable), and finally he throws in the enigmatic " he patterned in 
frankness " (which is words). The Fathers felt that the thing " stripped off " 
could not be the principalities, but must be the flesh or body ; yet the instant 
you insert such a term you are thrown back upon Docetic ground — the Jesus 
is represented as stripping off' his body (or flesh) on the cross, and hence 
leaving it nailed there to the wood. 

That some such idea was animating the author of Colossians is also seen 
in a phrase in ii, 11 : "And ye are fulfilled in him, who is the head of every 
principality and power, in whom also ye were circumcised with circumcision 
not made with hands, in the stripping off of the body of the fleshy in the circum- 
cision of the Christ, having been consepulchred with him in the baptism." 
These lofty-sounding but discordant phrases have little meaning in their own 
context. On their face it appears that they have been transplanted from their 
native soil to their present surroundings, where they look odd and do not 

Possibly someone may cavil at the Docetic statement *' that soul nourished 
in the body, having stripped off the body and having nailed it to the wood," 
and may object that the executioners, and not "that soul," nailed it. Let such 
an one reflect that the sublime primitive conception was that of the self- 
immolation of a suffering high-priest, and that in any case " that soul " might 
easily have been spoken of as nailing, had it only permitted the nailing. 

This example, only one of many, shows unmistakably that favourite 
expressions have been borrowed from the Gnostics, appropriated by the 
epistolists, and converted to strictly ecclesiastical use. 

^ fiaprvpia. ^ fxaprvs. 3 dpvloy. 


Lamb is introduced (v, 6) as a sacrifice, " a Lamb standing 
as having been slain, having horns seven and eyes seven, 
which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the 
earth." Here the suggestion of the Gospel narrative and the 
modern Unitarian conception seems to be vanishingly slight. 
But in xiii, 8 the whole matter is made reasonably clear : 
" And shall worship him all the dwellers on the earth of 
whom hath not been writ his name in the book of the life of 
the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the 
world." Here the whole evangelic story, conceived as 
history, seems forever excluded. By no possibility can the 
supposed death of the Jesus a few years before be described 
as a slaying from the foundation of the world. To say that 
he had been slain in the counsels of God is imposition, not 
exposition, of meaning. Of course, the critics refer the 
phrase to "hath been written," transposing so as to read 
" whose name hath not been written from the foundation of 
the world." But this is only a makeshift, a forced exegesis, 
and does not really mend matters. The notion of the names 
being written from the foundation of the world in the Lamb's 
Book of Life still leaves the Lamb and his Book of Life there 
in heaven since the foundation of the world, which in no 
wise rhymes with the conception of the Gospel as history. 

26. Turning now to the first chapter, we find another 
different conception of the same character, " one like Son of 
Man clothed full length and girt at the breasts with golden 
girdle ; and his head and hairs white, as white wool, as 
snow, and his eyes like flame of fire, and his feet like 
burnished brass, as refined in a furnace, and his voice as 
voice of many waters, and having in his right hand stars 
seven, and out of his mouth a sword two-edged sharp 
proceeding, and his visage as the sun shines in his might." 
This fearful vision describes himself thus : " I am the First 
and the Last and the living — and was dead, and lo, living 
am I unto the aeons of the asons — and have the keys of death 
and Hades." Without detailed interpretation it is plain that 
this being is supernal, over-earthly, and in no particular 
suggests the so-called historic Jesus. 

27. But does he not say "I was dead"? Certainly. 
True, the whole clause, from "and was" to "seons," is 


perhaps interpolation ; but the death, the sacrificial death of 
the Jesus, is certainly part of this whole tremendous doctrine. 
Yet this by no means implies that there is any reference to 
the crucifixion of a man Jesus at Jerusalem. The Jesus 
being a divine personality variously and titanically conceived 
— now as a Lamb, now as a High Priest, now as Alpha and 
Omega, now as Son of Man, amid the candlesticks — this 
sacrifice, this death, this resuscitation are all to be under- 
stood as supernal, over-earthly transactions, extra-spatial and 
extra-temporal, and by no means necessarily carried out here 
on the Palestinian stage. 

28. If one asks just how this sacrifice was effected, the 
answer must be that the question is unreasonable. The 
writers themselves had no clear ideas on the subject. They 
were dealing with vast and vague notions of heavenly 
happenings, of which it was impossible to form any exact 
Gaussian " constructible mental image." Deity dying and 
coming to life, the great High Priest offering up himself, the 
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world — such gigantic 
conceptions defy the limitations of sense-presentment* 
What happens when serious attempt is made to depict them 
historically may be seen in the Gospels. 

29. This self-immolation of the great High Priest is 
treated at length in the Epistle to the Hebrews, but I hardly 
think that even Delitzsch or Harnack would contend that 
any idea has been made quite clear. The point^is that the 
representation therein given, as everywhere in the New 
Testament outside the Gospels, does not seem to presuppose 
any knowledge of the Gospel or of the Gospel story. It is 
far vaguer than this latter^ nor does it make the faintest 
allusion to the Gospel delineation. It is not merely that the 
writers do not seem to have read the Gospels, they have no 
conception of the existence of any Gospel account, nor is 
there the slightest reference to any such personality as we 
find depicted in the Gospels. Thus the letter to the Hebrews 
has much to say of this great High Priest, who offers up 
himself, who suffers in the days of his flesh, &c. But he is 
"an High Priest after the order of Melchizedec," who, being 
" without father, without mother, without genealogy, having 
neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like to 


the Son of God, abideth a priest continually" (vii, 3). 
Clearly, then, we are dealing in this High Priest with a 
strictly supernatural being ; we see here the beginning of a 
doctrine that this being had to become flesh and offer him- 
self up ; but no such stage is anywhere reached as is found 
in the Gospels, and there is no hint of any knowledge of 
such a personality as is supposed to be there painted. In 
particular, it is only the suffering of the Divine Beings the 
self-immolation of the High Priest^ that is mentioned, and 
not at all the supposed lovely human personality of which 
the critics make so much account. 

30. It is impossible in this sketch to enter more minutely 
into this matter, already considered from a neighbouring 
point of view in the foregoing chapters. But the cardinal 
points thus far made in this statement may be summarised 
thus : — 

(i) If the Jesus was merely a man of flesh and blood, as 
the critics assure us, then to have produced the Christian 
movement he must have been a most amazing and every way 
memorable personality. 

(2) Any such personality would have made, must have 
made, the deepest impression as a man on his immediate 
and intimate following. 

(3) Such a personage would then have bulked largely in 
the preaching of the early Christians, which would in fact 
have taken its tone and colour in great measure from that 
personality, from things that he said and did. 

(4) But the fact is that the case is exactly the reverse : 
the personality, his deeds and words of love and wisdom, are 
entirely absent from the early preaching. The Jesus- 
character cuts no figure at all in the primitive propaganda. 
This latter pivots on and swings about certain great ideas, 
as of the coming judgment, the Son of Man, the self- 
immolating High Priest like Melchizedec, the Lamb slain 
from the foundation of the world, the dying and re-risen 
Christ, the installed Son of God, the Faithful Witness,' and 

* This phrase and this notion seem to be peculiar to the Apocalypse, and 
the prevalence of the word " witness " (fiaprupla) in the Johannines is remarkable. 
It occurs in John fourteen times, in i John six, in 3 John one, in Apocalypse 
nine, or thirty times in all. Elsewhere it occurs in all the New Testament only 


various others ; but the human personality, the " meek and 
lowly Jesus," is simply nowhere to be found ; it is absolutely 
absent from the original proclamation. 

31. Hence we must insist that the hypothesis of this 
wondrous human personality is positively excluded. It 
explains nothing that calls for explanation. No amount of 
amiability and ** sweet reasonableness " can be any ground 
for ascribing to a mere man a series of astounding miracles, 
for receiving and believing visions indicating his resurrec- 
tion, still less for basing thereon a highly elaborate, artificial 
and, in the main, transcendental structure of philosophy and 
religion. These actual effects stand entirely out of relation 
to the hypothetic causes. 

32. It is not likely that a finer logical intelligence than 
Holsten's will soon be brought to bear upon the problem of 
the Gospels of Paul and Peter, yet the failure of his superb 
effort is now apparent and admitted. In fact, as already 
indicated, the hypothesis of the colossal personality merely 
makes matters worse. In proportion as this human form 
towers higher and higher, more and more evident becomes 
the impossibility that it could have failed so completely to 
leave any impress on the teaching and preaching of the early 
propagandists. This point cannot be stressed too strongly 

seven times, sporadically and without special significance. In the Apocalypse 
Jesus is twice called "the Witness the Faithful " (i, 5 ; iii, 14 — "the Amen, the 
Witness the Faithful, and [the] true "). The term " witness " (/xaprvs) is used 
in thirty-three other New Testament passages, but without important 
reference. So, too, the verb witness {fiapTvpo/nai) is found five times, and the 
noun ixapTvpiov about twenty-one times, without giving occasion for remark. 
But the exceptional prevalence of " witness " in the Johannines, and especially 
the " witness of Jesus," peculiar to the Apocalypse, are important as illustrating 
the striking fact that the New Testament writings are strongly characterised, 
and often sharply distinguished, by favourite ideas and catchwords current 
most probably in particular groups of Christians or circles of Christian thought. 
It is not strange, but rather enlightening, that the Jesus should have been 
variously conceived as Lion, as Lamb, as Witness, as Vanens, as Demon- 
destroyer, as Son of Man, as Messiah, as Alpha and Omega, as Was-and-Is- 
and-Will-be, as Man from Heaven, as Second Adam, as Logos, as Lord, as 
Spirit, et al. It would be idle to seek to unify or even to reconcile these 
divergent conceptions. The important thing is to recognise clearly the true 
ground of the divergence, as lying in the diverse mental temperaments, in the 
varying conceptive or imaginative processes of the writers or of the schools 
they represent ; a diversity unavoidable on the hypothesis that the Jesus was 
at first an ideal and divine personality, but inexplicable on the hypothesis of a 
purely human Jesus. Noteworthy is the definition the Apocalyptist himself 
gives of" the witness of Jesus " as " the spirit of prophecy " — an enigma that 
Volkmar strives to unravel, with more energy and ingenuity than success. 


or repeatedly^ for it seems to be decisive. Let anyone realise 
vividly the historical conditions of the problem ; let him read 
again and again the New Testament outside of the Gospels, 
and yield himself to the natural total impression, and he will 
find the absence of the human personality of the Jesus to 
be by all odds the most conspicuous feature of the whole 


33. But someone is ready with the objection: "The 
Gospels, however, the Gospels — they are full of this human 
being ; they present a vivid picture of a noble man, a 
supremely beautiful character, unique, incomparable, un- 
imaginable, which the ignorant disciples could never have 
invented, which they have merely inadequately reproduced." 
Here, then, the issue is joined sharply. I deny each and 
every one of these confident time-honoured and timeworn 
contentions. At nearly every point the real state of the case 
is exactly the reverse. It is 7iot true that the earliest Gospel 
narratives describe any human character at all; on the 
contrary, the individuality in question is distinctly dwine and 
not human, in the earliest portrayal. As time goes on it is 
true that certain human elements do creep in, particularly in 
Luke and John. In the latter, indeed, there begins that 
process of sentimentalisation which has been carried to such 
lengths in this modern, and particularly this recent, age. 
The received notion that in the early Marcan narratives the 
Jesus is distinctly human, and that the process of deification 
is fulfilled in John, is precisely the reverse of the truth. In 
Mark^ there is really no man at all, the Jesus is God, or at 
least essentially divine, throughout. He wears only a 
transparent garment of flesh. Mark historises only. 
Matthew also historises and faintly humanises, Luke more 
strongly humanises, while John not only humanises, but 
begins to sentimentalise, 

' Of course, in these pages the reader will not look for any polemic with 
Weiss or Mueller or Wendling- or Nicolardot or Loisy, about the Synoptic 
question. Fortunately the large questions here raised do not depend for 
their satisfactory general settlement upon delicate determinations of priority 
and dependence of Synoptic elements. Otherwise they would have to be 
postponed from the beginning to the close of the century. 


34. Thus far these are mere assertions, but they repose 
upon careful analysis, which indeed cannot be reproduced 
here in detail.^ Only a few salient features of the situation 
can be presented, and the reader must be advertised in 
advance that it is the general consensus of indications that 
constitutes the strength of our position, and not any two nor 
any half-dozen single indications, be they never so direct 
and telling. Since, then, it is quite impossible to discuss 
these minute matters exhaustively in this connection, the 
reader will please take the following as samples only : — 

(i) Mark says naught about any early history of the 
Jesus ; apparently he knows of none ; in fact, it is demon- 
strable that the accounts both of Matthew and of Luke are 
pure imaginations. Now the fact that these elaborate and 
thoroughly contradictory stories were invented proves that 
fantasy played round the theme, that there arose a demand 
at least for ideas concerning it ; but if there had been any 
facts in the case these must have been in some measure 
accessible ; that none were ascertained indicates that none 
were ascertainable, that such facts did not really exist. 

Moreover, Mark does not claim to be telling an historical 
tale ; he is concerned avowedly with the doctrine — " Begin- 
ning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" (i, i). Certainly he 
gives this an historical form ; he historises, but he does not 
profess to write history. 

If the Jesus was such an impressive human personality, 
it seems strange that the earliest narrator should think solely 
of a body of dogma, and not at all of the character of that 
marvellous human being. 

(2) Mark nowhere applies to the Jesus any term that 
would indicate any impressive or even amiable human 
personality, or in fact any human personality whatever. On 
the contrary, the distinctive terms are such as would naturally 
be used of a God, in fact of Jehovah, and not of a man. The 
few apparent exceptions will serve to prove this rule. 

(a) Three or four times (in Mark) the Jesus is said to 
have " had compassion " on the people (i, 41 ; vi, 34 ; viii, 2 ; 

' The writer completed in September, 1909, a minute discussion of Mark, 
verse by verse ; since then the importunacy of professional duties has 
prevented final revision and preparation for the press. 


ix, 22), in Matthew five times, thrice in Luke ; this '' com- 
passion " is one of the two chief traits of Jesus according to 
Schmiedel, and is perhaps the chief in the general concep- 
tion. Surely compassion is most human. Yes, but it is 
also divine ; in fact, it is the especially divine attribute in 
the Oriental conception : " Allah, the Compassionate, the 
Merciful." And now mark well. The Greek word' is not 
idiomatically employed in this sense ; it is a mere imitation 
in Greek of the Hebrew raham (rahamim = ho\vQ\s^ mercies). 
Now this Hebrew term is continually and almost exclusively 
used (in the Old Testament) of or in connection with Jehovah. 
With only a few exceptions, it is solely Jehovah that is made 
subject of the verb, and these exceptions rather strengthen 
than weaken the rule. We may say, then, that the Greek 
word, as merely rendering the Hebrew, though it might be 
used of a man, is far fitter applied to Deity ; is, indeed, 
distinctive not of man, but of God ; as is also seen in the 
fact that it is used only of the JesuSy with only three even 
apparent exceptions in all the New Testament : Matthew 
xviii, 27, where ** the Lord of that servant " represents 
Jehovah ; Luke x, 33, of the Good Samaritan (symbolising a 
divine Being?) ; Luke xv, 20, where the Father is God or 
the Jesus. Its practically exclusive predication of the Jesus 
clearly indicates, though it does not positively prove, that 
he was from the first conceived as Jehovah, or at least as a 

{b) The term "rebuked"^ is used in Mark six times of 
the Jesus (also frequently in the other Gospels). It is also 
used of others (thrice), and so in the other Gospels. Hence 
it, too, appears distinctive of the Jesus. Now, however, 
it merely renders the Hebrew ga^ar^ which, again, is used 
distinctively, though not peculiarly, of Jehovah (about eighteen 
out of twenty-four times). Here, then, the indication is the 
same as in the foregoing case, though not so strong. 

(c) The term ** snort at"^ is used four times of the Jesus 
(Mark i, 43 ; Matthew ix, 30 ; John xi, 33, 38), once of the 
disciples (Mark xiv, 5). The word is most rare, and seems 
extraordinary as applied to any man, most especially puzzling 

* ffTcKarfxyi^oiMn, from o-irXdyxya^ viscera. ^ eiriTifjidu. 3 i/x^pi/xdofxai. 



as applied to the gentle Jesus, particularly as it is hard to 
find any good reason for this ** snorting." However, the 
explanation is not tar to seek. The word merely renders 
the Hebrew naharah (snorting, Jer. viii, i6), or neshamah^ 
used regularly of the " blast of the nostrils " of Jehovah. 
Here, then, the application of the repellent word to the Jesus 
appears as natural and almost inevitable, only if the Jesus he 
thought as like Jehovah^ so that the predicates of the latter 
are transferred to the former ; otherwise it remains perplexing 
and offensive. 

\/ (d) But is it not said that the Jesus " loved " ' the Rich 
One? Yes, indeed, in a most important pericope (Mark 
X, 2i), the only one in which such a sentiment is ascribed to 
the Jesus, outside of the sentimentalising Fourth Gospel. 
Let us look narrowly at this instructive passage. This love 
for the Rich One appears very human, and yet is it not 
strange that such a feeling should well up only once in the 
life of the Jesus of the Synoptists? The phenomenon is 
certainly worth pondering. Now, in another connection 
I have proved beyond contradiction that the Rich One 
is and can be nothing else than Faithful Israel ; the 
mysterious figure is symbolical purely and only. Detailed 
proof cannot be given here, but clear indications may 

(i) This One"" meets the Jesus just at the entrance into 
Judea (Mark x, i, 17). It is highly unlikely that an indi- 
vidual Jew would have met the Jesus in the manner detailed, 
while the typical Jew, the Jewish people, could be so 
described with great beauty and propriety. 

(2) The features of the One suit Faithful Israel ; the use 
of the bare term One seems noteworthy. 

(3) Hitherto in Galilee (of the Gentiles) the Jesus seems 
to have met only multitudes of invalids, particularly 
demoniacs; '' great multitudes followed him, and he healed 
them all." No such persons meet him in Judea, only blind 
Bartimasus forms an exception confirming the rule. Now 
Galilee was certainly as healthful as Judea. Why, then, 
such countless throngs of sick folk in Galilee and none in 

* ijya.TT'qaev, ' eis. 


Judea ? Only one answer is possible : The maladies of Galilee 
were purely spiritual ; they were paganism^ false worships 
polytheism. The gods and idols, those were the diseases he 
cured and the demons he cast out. His career in Galilee is 
only a brilliant poetic picture of the progress of the Jesus- 
cult. " Go tell John what ye hear and see ; blind men look 
up and lame men walk, lepers are cleansed and deaf men 
hear, and the dead are raised and the poor are evangelised." 
All these works stand in line. It is the same great deed 
expressed under six forms — the conquests of the Jesus-cult 
among the Poor, the Gentiles and the Gentilised Jews. 
Now, in Judea the true God was worshipped, true religion 
prevailed. Hence such cures as those wrought in Galilee 
of the Gentiles were impossible. But spiritual blindness 
prevailed, alas ! even among the highly-honoured people of 
God ; hence the cure of blind Bartimaeus, who symbolises 
the spiritually blinded Jew. If such be the proper interpre- 
tation of those facts, then there is no other choice : we must 
regard this One^ who meets Jesus at the gate of Judea, as 
the symbol of Jewry. 

(4) That the writer was actually thinking of Jacob the 
chosen lies plain to see in the language used of the One in 
verse 22 : ** But he with lowering look at the word went 
away grieving" ;^ as compared with Isaiah Ivii, 17: ''And 
he was grieved, and with lowering look went on in his ways.""" 
Now the prophet here speaks of Israel, and of Israel only, 
and it seems impossible that the Marcan writer was not 
thinking of this Isaian passage. Especially to note is the 
word arxy'^vdaaq (" with lowering look "), corresponding to the 
Septuagint" lowering "((TTvyvoc). This extremely rare o-rvyva^w 
(now rejected from Matthew xvi, 3) is a Septuagint word 
rendering the Hebrew shobab (froward, apostate) ; outside 
the Septuagint it seems to be found just once, in a scholium 
on Aesch. Pers, 470. ^ We may safely say, then, that the 
Marcan writer had the Septuagint, or some similar transla- 
tion, of the Isaian verse in his mind, hence he must have 
been thinking of Israel. In fact, he seems to have quoted 

* 6 5^ (rriryvao-as iirl tQ \6y(fi dTTJXdep Xvirov/xevos. 

" Kal iXvirijOr], Kal ffrvyvbs ' Topevdr) iv rats bdoh avTOv. 

3 Its use by Eumathius (a.d. iioo?) hardly counts. 


thus from Isaiah, to make his own symbolism clear and 

(5) The requirement to sell all goods and give to the 
poor is unreasonable, and unwarranted by precedent. It 
acquires sense and reason only when taken, in its proper 
historic setting, to be the demand of the Jesus-cult that 
Israel should renounce his "many possessions," his spiritual 
privileges and prerogatives, should share them with the 
Gentile by admitting this latter on equal terms into the 
Kingdom. No wonder he hesitated. 

(6) The reported conversation between the Jesus and the 
disciples is to be understood only in accord with the fore- 
going : *' How hardly shall they that have the possessions 
enter into the Kingdom of God ! And the disciples were 
amazed at his words." Notice the language: "They that 
have the possessions."^ A distinct and definite class appears 
to be meant. And why the amazement of the disciples? 
There seems nothing amazing in the notion that the rich 
should find it harder than the poor to enter into the Kingdom. 
On hearing that it is "easier for a camel to go through the 
needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of 
God" they exclaim, "Who, then, can be saved?" That is, 
if the Jew cannot; otherwise the question lacks point. Their 
attitude seems strange, as well as that of the Jesus, if rich 
be meant literally. The Jesus replies : " With men this is 
impossible, but with God all things are possible." This 
means, if anything, that the salvation of the rich is really 
impossible, save by a miracle. Applied to a rich man, this 
looks unreasonable ; applied to the Jewish people, it looks 
reasonable enough. Note, too, the closing words : " But 
many last first and first last." A perfectly natural interpre- 
tation refers this to the Jew (naturally first, really last, in 
accepting the new cult, or the Kingdom) and the Gentile 
(naturally last, really first). What other worthy interpreta- 
tion has revealed itself to the eyes of the commentator? 

(7) Lastly, that such is really the thought of the 
Evangelist is made clear by the exactly parallel thought 

* Compare the learned remarks of Abbott, Corrections of Mark [439M442]' 

JEW AND GENTILE , ..,.,..,,. ^o| 

in Romans ix-xi. What a prodigious puzzle this inversion 
of relations (of Jew and Gentile) to the Kingdom presented to 
the early Christian consciousness is distinctly visible in this 
most elaborate argument on the paradox of Jewish rejection 
and Gentile acceptance of the Gospel. Now note the con- 
clusion. The apostle insists, in the teeth of all the facts in 
the case, that the rejection cannot be real and permanent, and 
that the honour of the Almighty is pledged to the salvation — 
nay, the glorification — of Jacob, that the incoming of the 
Gentile is only the prologue to the stately drama. *' So then 
all Israel shall be saved," he concludes (xi, 26) ; and, intoxi- 
cated with the splendid vision of all the Jews redeemed, of the 
glorified People of God^ he bursts out into the magnificent 
apostrophe : " O depth of riches and wisdom and knowledge 
of God ! how unsearchable his judgments and inexplorable 
his ways ! " Such is precisely the view of the evangelist, but 
shadowed forth by symbolism, not recommended by passionate 

35. Let the reader notice the great number of marks by 
which we identify this Rich One and determine the interpre- 
tation of the whole passage — no less than seven, and some of 
these not single, but multiple. It is most unlikely that any 
interpretation fitting so accurately at every point can be 
incorrect. If you put together a very complex machine, as 
a watch, so that it functions perfectly, you may be practically 
sure that you have put it together right, even though admitting 
the abstract possibility that the maker intended it to be set 
together otherwise. But probability is the guide of life. We 
may know, indeed, a priori that this paradoxical relation of 
Jew and Gentile must have vexed the wits of the first 
Christians, even as it is now inexplicable to such as disregard 
the essential Hellenism of Christianity ; and it would have 
been strange had it not received treatment in the Gospels as 
well as in the Epistles. 


36. In fact, it has received more than one treatment. 
The parable of Lazarus and Dives is an interesting pre- 
sentation of the matter. Dives is the rich Jew, Lazarus the 
miserable Gentile, **poor and needy," ''sick and sore" — 


obviously and certainly, as is seen in more than one circum- 
stance. Thus Lazarus lay at the gate, waiting for the falling 
(crumbs) from the rich man's table. Precisely so, the Syro- 
phenician woman (Mark vii, 28) declares wisely that the dogs 
eat of the children's crumbs. Now no one doubts that by the 
children are here meant the Jews, and by the dogs the 
Gentiles ; hence the presumption that the same is meant in 
the other parable. Again, Lazarus is carried to Abraham's 
bosom, and Dives cast into hell. Exactly so in Matthew viii, 
II, 12 it is declared that many from east and west (Gentiles) 
shall sit down with Abraham in the Kingdom, while the 
children of the Kingdom (Jews) shall be cast into outer 
darkness. Again, Dives asks that Lazarus be sent "to my 
father's house" to warn his "five brethren." What does 
this mean? " My father's house" — i.e.y Jehovah's house — 
is an Old Testament name for Palestine. Thus in Hosea 
viii, i: "As an eagle (Assyria) swoops upon Jahveh's 
house" (Canaan); Hosea ix, 3, 4, 5, 6 : "Thou shalt not 
dwell in Jahveh's land, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, 

and they shall eat unclean (food) in Asshur. for their bread, 

for their hunger, shall not come into Jahveh's house Egypt 

shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them "; ix, 15 : 
" Out of my house Avill I drive them " (the people out of the 
land of Israel). But the "five brethren"? Plainly the five 
nations of Samaria (2 Kings xvii, 24-41), the five husbands of 
the woman of Samaria (John iv, 18), who have " Moses and 
the prophets." Observe, further, the utter disconnection of 
this parable (Luke xvi, 19-31) with its context ; omit it, and 
the flow of thought is quite as smooth as before. // is not 
even put into the mouth of the Jesus, Obviously it is a 
parable quite independent, inserted here, but having its own 
raison d^etre. 

37. The fourth Evangelist has seized upon Luke's state- 
ment that they would not believe even though one (Lazarus) 
should arise from the dead, and developed it into an elaborate 
story in which a certain Lazarus does actually arise from the 
dead — with the predicted result : they do not believe, are 
merely hardened in their unbelief (xi, 46, 53). That such is 
the interpretation of this minute narrative seems certain, for 
Lazarus is known to the Synoptic story only in Luke xvi, 


20, 23, 24, 25. Now, had Mary and Martha had such a brother, 
and had such a stupendous miracle taken place under such 
conditions, it is altogether inconceivable that the Synoptists 
should have failed to notice it, especially as it was (according 
to John) precisely this prodigy that was the prime cause of 
the arrest and execution of the Jesus (xi, 53). 

38. We can now see clearly who were the ten lepers 
healed in Luke xvii, 11-19. Why ten? Why in passing 
through Samaria? Why did they stand "afar off"? All 
these indices point to the scattered Ten Tribes of Israel, 
leprous from contact with heathen idolatry. It seems, indeed, 
astonishing that anyone can fail to perceive instantly that 
this story cannot be historic, cannot be a legend, that it must 
be a symbolism freighted with meaning. Does anyone ask 
who was the typical solitary Samaritan that gave thanks? Is 
not his name found in Acts viii, 13? Is it not Simon Magus ?^ 
This, however, parenthetically and without insistence. 

39. Returning to the notion of the rich-feasting Jew and 
the poor crumb-craving Gentile, we find it beautifully set 
forth in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the emphasis falling 
on the joy in heaven at the return of humanity to the true 
God after its long carousal with the false religions of 
heathendom. The elder son who looks on so grudgingly, 
almost as displeased as was the fatted calf itself, though not 
with such good reasons, typifies most vividly the jealous Jew, 
so unwilling to share his possessions with his younger 
Gentile brother — the Jew who had served God so many years, 
nor ever transgressed a commandment, and who had, indeed, 
suffered much, and had made merry but rarely in so many 
centuries. His reluctance was not unnatural. Note, how- 
ever, that, although he now refuses to enter into the 
Kingdom, yet his right of primogeniture is not really 
forfeited. Says the Father : " Child, thou art always with 

^ Whose sublime transfiguration is Simon the converted, the penitent, 
the Apostle, the so-called Peter. Does some one object that this leper could 
not at one and the same time symbolise a lost tribe and an individual, Simon 
Mag-US? But nothing- was more familiar to the oriental mind than this repre- 
sentation of a people by a person — the notions of the general and the particular 
were continually flowing into each other. However, it seems very likely that 
vv. 15-19 are by a later hand, an expansion of the original simpler idea in 
view of the prominence of Simon Magus in the early days of the Church. 
Simonians, as we learn from Origen (C. Cels.y v, 63), was one of the names 
applied to Christians. 


me, and all that is mine is thine." Again we hear the voice 
of the Apostle : "So, then, all Israel shall be saved." 

40. A still subtler and more elaborate, though far less 
sympathetic, picture of the Jew is found in that notorious 
character Judas Iskariot, the Jew the Surrenderee That such 
is the meaning of Iskariot seems to be proved, with at least as 
high probability as commonly attaches to such matters, in 
another chapter (see infra). The term v'sikkarti (" and I will 
deliver up ") is actually found in Isaiah xix, 4, and the form 
Skariotes seems to be only a very slight disguise formed 
after the analogy of such a Greek word as stratiotes (soldier) 
passing over into Syriac in the form "estratiota." The suffix 
" he that delivered up (or surrendered') " seems to be merely 
a translation of (I)Skariot, and does not mean who betrayed. 
The Jew (Judas) is called the Surrenderer because he sur- 
rendered the Jesus-cult (his natural prerogative, monotheism, 
the true worship) up to the Gentiles. Of course, in this 
connection, I make no attempt to prove these statements. 
This idea has, to be sure, undergone much elaboration and 
some deformation, but it is still distinctly recognisable in the 
Gospel story. The interpretation of (I)Skariot as " man ot 
Qerioth " is impossible, as Wellhausen {e.g,) expressly 

41. But by far the most pleasing picture of the Gentile 
and the Jew in their relations to the new Jesus-cult is given 
by Luke (x, 38-42). In the two sisters Mary and Martha 
(Lady), the former sitting at the feet of Jesus (gladly adopting 
the Jesus-cult), the latter cumbered with much serving (Jewish 
rites and ceremonies), and demanding similar service from 
her sister, it seems impossible not to recognise the Gentile 
and the Jewish world. Consider that it was the habit, many 
centuries old, to speak of a people as a woman (daughter of 
Zion, daughter of my people), and then say how the early 
Christian mind, brooding continually over the knotty problem 
of the Jew and the Gentile in the Kingdom, could have 
narrated such an incident without thinking of the patent 

42. That the great dramatist John was conscious of the 

' 6 TapaSoi/y. 


true import seems clear from his famous eleventh chapter : 
''There was a certain invalid, Lazarus of Bethany,^ of the 
village of Mary and Martha her sister. It was Mary that 
anointed the Lord with myrrh and wiped his feet with her 
hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick." As Lazarus can be 
nothing but the Gentile world, so, too, his sister Mary. 
There is no inconsistency, only harmonious variety in the 
symbolism. This brother is sick even to death — how true of 
heathendom ! All three (both Jew and Gentile) are beloved 
of the Jesus. Lazarus is designated as ** Whom thou lovest " 
— plainly pagan humanity. Could such an individual favourite 
of Jesus (the man) have absolutely escaped through the sieve 
of Synoptic tradition ? Impossible ! Note, further, the various 
delicate touches of the artist. The Jesus knows that his " dear 
Lazarus " is sick, yet delays two days till death intervenes. 
Why ? Whence this strange motif? Is it not the long 
delay of history, the thousand-year patience of Jehovah with 
the malady of pagandom, that the symbolist sets forth ? 
Again, it is Martha, not Mary (the Jew, not the Gentile), that 
goes to meet the coming Jesus (in the Law and the Prophets). 
She is clearly designated as the people of God by the words 
put into her mouth : '' I know that whatsoever thou askest of 
God, God will give it thee "; " I know that he will rise up in 
the resurrection at the last day "; '' yea, Lord, I have believed 
that thou art the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, that 
Cometh into the world." Notice, too, how exquisitely the 
faith of the Jew is supplemented by the doctrine of the Jesus : 
"I am the Resurrection and the Life," &c. — words that have 
proper meaning only when understood, not of a person, but 
of an Idea, a soul-quickening Teaching. Notice, still further, 

* This Bethany is in the Syriac and therefore in the Aramaic Beth " ania^^ 
and this latter word has been variously interpreted incorrectly. The corre- 
sponding Hebrew stem recurs continually in the Old Testament in the primary 
sense of vex^ afflict^ and the derived sense oi poor ("ani"). Now in Luke 
X, 40, it is said that Martha was vexing herself^ and the Syriac word is 
precisely this same " ania," as it is also in the Sinaitic Syriac at John xii, 2 
(as noted by Nestle, Phil. Sac, p. 20, and as it now stands in Burkitt's 
monumental Evangelion da-Mepharreshe, p. 492), where the received text in 
all the languages now presents served. Bethany, then, means house of her 
that vexes herself, and we see why John has made it the home of the self- 
vexing Martha. Whether there ever was such a village need not here be 
discussed. The obvious suggestion is that the name designates Judea or the 
Jewish nationality, the home of her that received the Jesus when he came 
thither from the Dispersion, 


the very different meeting and conversation with Mary, who 
falls at the feet of Jesus — /.^., worships him — as Martha did 
not. Note, too, that Jesus calls Mary (the "calling of the 
Gentiles "), that he never enters into the house of Martha, 
who leaves Jesus where she met him^ and objects to opening the 

43. From childhood the writer could never read this 
chapter without a feeling of unrest, of bewilderment, as to 
the parts played by the two sisters, which seemed almost to 
invert the relations natural in the case ; nor was this wholly 
involuntary mental reaction ever relieved till the symbolic 
significance of the characters was revealed. 

43^. John is careful to identify Mary, the sister of 
Lazarus, as " the one who anointed the Lord with ointment 
and wiped his feet with her hair." In xii, 2 he emphasises 
that " Martha served " (rather, " was vexing herself with 
service — war bemiiht mit der Bedienmig — Merx). It is 
Mary that overwhelms Jesus with worship, against which 
Judas {i.e.^ Jewry) protests. Now, on its face this scene is 
compounded out of the Synoptic scenes given in Mark xiv, 2-9 ; 
Matthew xxvi, 6-13 ; Luke vii, 36-50, x, 38-42. Perhaps no 
one will deny this. In Mark and Matthew the scene is laid 
in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper ; in Luke it is 
in the house of Simon the Pharisee ; but John takes one 
important item from the scene in the home of Martha in 
Bethany. In Mark and Matthew it is merely a woman ; in 
Luke she is a fallen woman — a sinner. The writers are 
perfectly conscious that they are dealing with symbols, and 
not with history, for they modify the statements freely, to 
suit the purposes of their thought. Particularly in Luke it 
seems clear as day that the writer means to set forth the sharp 
contrast between the receptions accorded Jesus (the Jesus-cult) 
by the Jews and by the Gentiles. The Pharisee receives him 
with no mark of honour or worship ; the sinful woman over- 
whelms him with both, and with affection besides. Loisy 
thinks nothing easier (rien de plus facile) than to explain 
the incident in Capernaum or a neighbouring village — the 
courtesan could readily enter, thanks to the tumult and 
freedom that accompany great feasts in the East ! {Ev. Syn,^ 
I, 684). Is it Loisy or Renan that is writing? About as 


easy to explain such an intrusion at a dining in honour of a 
bishop in Boston. Loisy admits a "certain indifference*' in 
the Evangelists as to "mere matter of fact," as well as the 
presence of what " one might almost call a trace of religious 
worship." Nor would he seem to hold firmly to the his- 
toricity of the incident in Bethany. Other acute biographers 
of Jesus have remarked the conspicuity of women, even of 
erring women, in the Gospel narrative, and have shrewdly 
surmised that the Christ must have been an uncommonly 
handsome and winsome Rabbi — in fact, " a dear, charming 
man," such as the Jewish race not seldom perfects in beauty 
— and must have had a peculiar attraction for the eternal 
feminine. Nor is it, indeed, easy to do justice to the Gospel 
narratives as history without some such supposition, for their 
statements certainly indicate as much, nor are these to be 
understood as mere gratuitous inventions. On the other 
hand, how such a marked trait of character is to be set in any 
even half-way plausible or acceptable Jesushild^ without fatal 
offence to the religious consciousness, has not yet been 
demonstrated. Thus between Krethi and Plethi the liberal 
theory of the purely human Jesus goes to pieces utterly. 

43^. Now, however, the whole explanation is obvious 
and transparent. In the Old Testament, as well as in the 
New, an erring woman is the standing symbol for an 
idolatrous or apostate people. One need only think of the 
prophet Hosea, of Jeremiah iii, of Ezekiel xxiii (of Aholah 
and Aholibah), of Matthew's and Mark's " adulterous genera- 
tion," of the Jezebel of Revelation. As soon as the sug- 
gestion is made it becomes clear as light that the sinful 
woman who anoints the Jesus and bathes his feet with her 
tears, and covers him with caresses of reverence and affection, j 
can be none other than the converted heathen worlds so long 
given up to the shameless service of polytheism. When a 
riddle or rebus is proposed, one may cudgel one's wits in 
vain to unravel it. Once, however, the solution is stated, 
there is no longer any doubt whatever ; we see it clearly 
and distinctly enough to satisfy the most rigorous Cartesian.' 

* In his wondrously learned Bihlische Lieheslieder Professor Haupt has 
made this observation, and has illustrated it most felicitously by this 
example ; 2x2 = 4 {Nichts neues vpr Paris). 



Critics need no longer wonder how Jesus exerted such a 
marvellous magnetism over village Cyprians. 

In one case the symbolist, playing on his favourite theme, 
seems to have fairly outdone himself. Of course, the refer- 
ence is to the famous pericope now printed in brackets 
(John vii, 53-viii, 12). The symbolism is perfectly obvious, 
but the colouring is almost too high ; hence it very early 
gave offence, and never quite established itself anywhere, 
neither in John nor in Luke, codically. Very likely it was 
an elaboration of the incident mentioned in Papias, also in 
the Gospel according to the Hebrews, of the woman accused 
of many sins and brought before Jesus (Eus. H.E.^ Ill, 39). 
Reuss thinks ''the authenticity of the fact appears sufficiently 
established " ! Godet thinks it an ** inimitable feature of the 
life of Jesus"! And yet, long before them, Hengstenberg 
(as I have just observed) had clearly perceived that the story 
was the invention of a believer hostile to Judaism, who would 
depict the pardoning grace of God towards the Gentile world. 
Such critics refuse to see the most obvious spiritual figure, 
and obstinately insist upon the most deadening letter of 
historic fact. One cannot blame them. They are guided by 
a faithful logical instinct. They feel that they must resist 
the beginnings — that even a small concession to the symbolic 
would entail ultimately the surrender of their whole historic 


44. It seemed proper to dwell at length on this idea of 
the rich Jew and the poor Gentile, to show how full the 
Gospels are not only of this thought, but of thought in 
general ; how symbolism of the most pregnant kind con- 
stitutes their very warp and woof. Far more than this, 
however, there is a logical virtue in such elaboration. A 
symbolic interpretation, however satisfactory in itself, might 
still be quite unconvincing if it stood alone. When, how- 
ever, so many fairly obtrude themselves at so many points 
and call so urgently for acceptance, the demands support 
each other. We cannot reject all. If the improbability of 
any one be as much as two-thirds, the simultaneous improba- 
bility of half-a-dozen (independent) such would be only ,SVi 


or less than ^ ; there would hardly be one chance in twelve 
that all six would be erroneous. Now, however, the number 
of such obvious symbolisms is not six, but rather sixty ; yea, 
more (as analysis of the Gospel clearly shows). We may, 
then, be practically sure that symbolic interpretation is 
imperiously required in many cases, here and there, every- 
where in the Gospels. But if such interpretation be required 
at any considerable number of independent points, then it 
becomes at once antecedently probable that it should be 
employed wherever easily possible. For, mark you, we have 
become morally sure of frequent symbolic interpretation ; 
we are not yet, and apparently never can be at any point, 
morally sure of a matter-of-fact historical interpretation. 

45. The liberal critic is challenged to point out a single 
passage dealing with the Jesus where such a simple historical 
interpretation is certainly, or with very high probability, 
required. Note carefully, then : in many cases the historic 
interpretation is excluded with practical certainty ; in many 
cases the symbolic interpretation is imperiously demanded ; 
in no case (under consideration) is the historic interpretation 
certainly correct or imperiously demanded ; in no case is the 
symbolic interpretation positively or with compelling pro- 
bability excluded. 

46. I say "in no case," not implying that we can 
actually make out the symbolic sense in every case. Certainly 
not. It may very well be that such a meaning may often 
elude us, for our comprehension of the mind of the 
Evangelists is only very imperfect; our knowledge of the 
facts in the case, of all the elements that entered into their 
thinking, of the views, dogmas and theories they wished to 
express, is notoriously incomplete. When, then, we fail to 
find any satisfactory symbolism, it may very well be due to 
our ignorance of the subject, an ignorance to be gradually 
enlightened by continued study. 

47. Since, then, we have one certain and one uncertain 
principle of interpretation, it follows that we must employ 
the certain one as long as and wherever possible ; nor dare 
we invoke the uncertain except in case of necessity, except 
where the certain proves positively to fail, to be impossible 
of application. Such is the Razor of Occam, the principle 


of Parsimony : Entia non sunt multiplicanda prceter neces- 

48. This logical situation, this location of the burden of 
proof, must be carefully heeded. It is the object of the New 
Testament analysis upon which the present writer has been 
long engaged to bring out in clear and bold relief this large 
element not of mythical, not of legendary, but of symbolic 
matter that is certainly present, in the Gospels especially 
and in Acts. He has never hoped to be able to present a 
perfectly satisfactory symbolic interpretation of the total 
content of the quasi-historical parts of the New Testament. 
Such a result lies perhaps beyond human power, at least 
under present circumstances of grossly defective human 
knowledge. But it is certain that a large, a very large, 
percentage of that content not only may, but even must, be 
interpreted thus symbolically, as he thinks may be proved to 
the satisfaction of every competent and open-minded scholar 
— no other is addressed at present. 

49. Moreover, there is no part of that content (touching 
the Jesus) that anyone has yet made any serious pretence of 
proving to be certainly historical, if we except the Nine 
Pillars of Schmiedel; and even these the reader will elsewhere 
find lying prostrate and crumbling. We are then logically, 
and even morally, bound to exploit the symbolic method to 
the utmost, as far as possible, and to reject it — not when we 
have actually failed to succeed with it — but only when it 
becomes clear that in the nature of the case no one can ever 
succeed with it ; in other words, that the historic explanation 
is positively demanded. There is nothing strange in the 
form of argumentation here adopted, for it is merely the 
approved scientific procedure universally recognised and 
employed as the only proper method of interpreting natural 
phenomena. Now the existence of the New Testament and 
of Christianity is also such a natural phenomenon (since 
history is a nature-process and psychology is the fundamental 
science) ; in fact, it is the sublimest, most important, and 
most fascinating of all phenomena. 


50. That there is no cause to lose heart, even though 


some features of the Gospel narrative should long resist 
analysis, is clearly illustrated by the case of the "young 
man clothed in linen " (Mark xiv, 51, 52). For nearly 1,800 
years this youth has been the despair of exegesis. Well- 
hausen thinks he was merely some unknown fellow in the 
neighbourhood who heard the racket of the arrest, jumped 
out of bed, with only a nightrobe around him, and rushed 
to the scene as young America hastens to a dog-fight. How 
such a widely learned and keen-sighted scholar can for an 
instant entertain such a banal view of an item in this 
succinct, compressed, thought-laden Gospel seems incom- 
prehensible. Zahn (following Olshausen ?) has the notable 
merit of having perceived clearly that this youth was not a 
mere nobody, that the mention of him must be charged with 
some kind of deep significance. Accordingly Zahn discovers 
in him no other than Mark himself! The two verses, he 
thinks, are in fact Mark's sign-manual, to identify him as 
author, hid like a painter's in a modest, unpretentious way in 
a dark corner of his great historical picture ! It is impossible 
not to admire Zahn's ingenuity and the vigour of his imagina- 
tion. But his suggestion can hardly be taken seriously. 
Inasmuch as there is no hint of authorship anywhere in the 
Gospel, that seems a queer kind of signature and identifica- 
tion which consists of a wholly unintelligible mark without 
even the trace of a fecit, Wohlenberg refines on Zahn, and 
fancies that Mark wished " to conceal and at the same time 
to reveal himself "as author ; and he assumes further that the 
soldiers had already explored Mark's house in search for 
Jesus, where Jesus, as Wohlenberg thinks, had just eaten 
the Passover ! 

51. These verses appear at first sight to be quite inexplic- 
able, and yet they yield their meaning readily enough.^ We 

^ Curious the bewilderment of Strauss {Das Lehen Jesu kritisch bearbeitetj 
§ 127). Bacon "paraphrases" thus : " But a certain man was there who had 
followed him thither from his bed, having the sheet wrapped about him." It 
would seem that a sense of humour should have saved any man from 
paraphrasing a-vvrjKoXovdei. air^ in such a grotesque fashion. The Greek 
verb is very emphatic ; besides, it is imperfect, and is properly rendered by 
"was habitually accompanying." In Aristotle it is used to designate 
necessary accompaniment, logical involvement. The term is peculiarly unfit to 
denote the accidental or casual presence imagined by Wellhausen. Volkmar, 
followed by Keim, Holtzmann, Loisy, Reinach, and others, recalls Amos, 
ii, 16: "And the stout-hearted among the mighty shall flee naked in that 


note that the term "young man"' is not frequent in Mark; 
it occurs only here and in xvi, 5. In both cases it is a 
"youth wrapt all round about";'' in this case in fine and 
costly linen cloth, ^ especially used for cerements ; in xvi, 5, 
in a white robe.'^ Even Leibnitz would have admitted the 
two figures to be almost tndiscernibles. The garment in 
both cases is white, and is the only garment. s In the first 
case the young man is " following along with," in the second 
he is "sitting on the right." These two passages, xiv, 51, 52, 
and xvi, 5, are not far apart ; the phraseology is strikingly 
similar — the youths seem strangely alike. Are they related? 
52. Let us turn to the Old Testament and see if we can 
find any prototype. At once we light on Ezek. ix, 2, where 
we find "one man among them clothed with linen, with a 
writer's inkhorn by his side "; the same " man clothed with 
linen " (^tsh labush baddtm)^ with no significant change in 
phraseology, occurs also in ix, 3, 11 ; x, 2, 6, 7. In Daniel 
x, 5 ; xii, 6, 7, we again meet with the same phrase. 
Nowhere else is the phrase found in the Old Testament. In 
all these nine cases the " man clothed in linen " is a technical 
phrase denoting a celestial being, an angel or divinity. 
Evidently in Ezek. ix, 2 he is a Secretary (or Recording 
Angel), and Zimmern {K,A,T, 404) does not hesitate to 
identify him as "manifestly the Babylonian Planet- and 
Secretary-God Nabu," akin to the Greek Hermes, whence 
may be explained very naturally the term " young man " 
used by Mark. It seems, then, that we are dealing with a 
technical expression for a celestial personage.^ In Mark 
xvi, 5, the "youth clothed in white robe, sitting on the 
right" of the open sepulchre is unquestionably such a being; 
in ten cases out of eleven we know certainly the meaning ; 
what, then, is the meaning in the eleventh case ? We need 

day"; in the Ixx.: "the naked shall be pursued in that day." But this is 
Hamlet with Hamlet left out; there is no "youth wrapt all round about." 
Besides, there is no point, no propriety, in the allusion, which would have been 
possible only for a writer dead set on fulfilling the most out-of-the-way Old 
Testament passages ; such a writer Mark was not. Volkmar's suggestion 
does not explain that which most needs explaining, though the Amos-passage 
may have been in the mind of the author. 

* v€avl<TKo%. "" irepipepXTjfxivos. 3 aivddva. * ctoK^v XevK-^y. 
5 iirl yvfjLvoVf xiv, 51 ; yvfivds, xiv, 52. 

• Compare Rev. xix, 14, where the heavenly hosts appear " clothed in fine 
linen, white and pure." 


not invoke the tedium of the calculus of probabilities. Sound 
human understanding does not wait an instant, but says at 
once that the meaning must be the same in the solitary 
eleventh, unless there be insuperable obstacles in the way. 
But there are no obstacles at all. On the contrary, it is 
plain sailing. The Celestial is the Angel-Self of Jewish 
anthropology, the Persian ferhouer (represented on an 
extant coin as Sapor IL, the rival of Julian the Emperor), a 
kind of astral body that " follows along with " the Jesus, 
robed in fine linen to abate its intolerable splendour. The 
soldiers try to seize it, but it flees away naked, leaving only 
the linen investiture behind. The fact that such an idea 
was not strange to the Evangelists is clearly witnessed by 
Matthew xviii, 10 ("their angels do always behold" — 2.^., 
have access unto — " the face of my Father "). 

53. What does the Evangelist mean to say by these 
perplexing words? Thus far he has represented the Jesus 
exclusively as a god, a being of infinite power ; and now this 
divinity is arrested and carried away to trial and condemna- 
tion and death ! Arrest, judge, condemn, execute a god I 
How can these things be? Apparently the Evangelist would 
give us a hint that he is not to be taken literally. He would 
whisper to his reader : " Of course, the God-Jesus could not 
be arrested, but only the garment concealing his divinity, the 
garment of flesh that he has put on in this my symbolic 
narrative." Hence the repeated use of the word "naked," 
both in 51 and 52. Now " naked " {^v\iv6q) is the equivalent 
of disembodied when applied to a spirit, as in 2 Cor. v, 3. Of 
the exact shade and shape of the Evangelist's thought we may 
not, indeed, be quite sure, but there seems to be no doubt of 
the general identification of the "young man" as a super- 
natural being. 

54. Here, then, is a decisive example of a deep symbolism 
in this Gospel, and that, too, in the very centre of a mass of 
seeming historic details. It is noteworthy that the other 
more humanising Gospels seem to have taken offence at this 
Marcan passage — at least, none has repeated it. Not strangely. 
Here, indeed, we may gather a hint at explanation of the 
absence of the proper conclusion of the Marcan Gospel. 
Originally it may very well have squinted towards Docetism, 


have thus incurred the disfavour of the Church, and have 
fallen a victim to the zeal that in one small diocese (says 
the Bishop) destroyed such mildly unorthodox documents as 
Tatian's Diatessaron by the hundred. 

55. Another most vivid example of Mark's symbolism is 
found in the Barren Fig Tree (xi, 12-14, 20, 21). Surely no 
one can for a moment understand this quite literally. To 
curse a fig-tree, to blast it and wither it, because it did not 
bear figs out of season (" for it was not the season of figs "), 
is inconceivable in any rational being, much more in a perfect 
man or a man-god. If one asks. What, then, is the sym- 
bolism ? the answer is by no means so certain. It might 
seem to be a condemnation of some premature endeavour, of 
some promise without fulfilment. It was once my notion, 
held subject to revision and correction, that it was aimed at 
the movement headed by John the Baptist, which seemed to 
force Messianism and the Jesus-cult prematurely into the 
open. It is noteworthy that scant words of praise for the 
Baptist are to be found in Mark. Certainly the movement 
might be not ineptly likened to a leaf-laden fig-tree suddenly 
withered from the roots. Matthew and Luke would seem to 
have thought better of the forerunner, and the apology they 
introduce (Matthew xi, 7-15 ; Luke vii, 24-28) might appear 
to be a perfectly conscious correction of Mark. On such a 
conjecture one need not insist ; it is important only to 
recognise that the whole story is certainly a symbolism. 

56. Matthew has given this incident a still more emphatic 
form (xxi, 17-22), in which the tree withers instantly {wapaxprmay 
on the spot) at the curse of Jesus. It is impossible even for 
Zahn {£v, d. Matt.^ p. 616) not to recognise herein a symbol ; 
but, with the strange perversity of an acute intellect, he still 
regards the whole as historical ! He rejects, justly, the 
pretence that the Jesus merely " simulated his futile search 
for fruits for pedagogical reasons "; neither was his wrath 
inconsiderate. But his experience with the tree instantly 
became for him the emblem (Sinnhild) of what he had to 
experience in Jerusalem, of which city the fig-tree was the 
symbol. Inasmuch as " Jesus did not explain the symbol to 
the disciples," and they seem not to have understood it, he 
would appear, in Zahn's exegesis, to have been virtually 


talking to himself and acting out parables that no one could 

57. On turning to Luke xiii, 6, 7, we find the parable of a 
certain one that had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard, and 
came seeking fruit on it that he did not find, and therefore 
ordered its destruction. Naturally, we do not meet with the 
Matthcean-Marcan incident in Luke ; his allegory of the 
vineyard seems to take its place. Luke declares openly that 
this is a ** parable," and the application to Jewry lies plain 
on its face. It seems hardly possible that the Lucan and 
Matth^an-Marcan incidents should not be variants upon one 
and the same general idea, since the central facts of seeing 
the fig-tree, coming to it for fruit, and getting none, are 
the same in all. As illustrating how a symbol may quite 
innocently and naturally undergo metamorphosis into history, 
this parable is highly interesting and instructive. It looks as 
if Matthew and Mark had taken this " parable," worked it up, 
and then narrated it as historical — of course, with no intent to 
deceive anyone, but very properly persuaded that anyone 
might see at a glance that it was purely symbolical. But 
Zahn and his school will have it that even the most obvious 
allegories were historical, that the Jesus literally acted his 

58. On this point it may be well to pause for a moment. 
There may be those who would not deny the often obvious 
symbolic meaning of a Gospel incident, but would yet hold 
that the incident did really take place. In i Kings xxii, 11 
(2 Chron. xviii, 10), we read that Zedekiah ben Chenaanah 
made him horns of iron, and said : "Thus saith Jahveh, with 
these shalt thou push the Syrians, until they be consumed "; 
and there are other such symbolic actions mentioned in the 
Old- Testament. But everyone will admit that Zedekiah (if 
he really did as recorded) most surely wasted his metal and 
his muscle, and must have cut a ridiculous rather than an 
impressive figure. Besides, Zedekiah and the rest explain 
their emblematic deeds, which, without such explanation, 
would remain entirely inoperative. But we hear of no such 
explanations in the Gospels. Consider the case of the 
healing of the withered hand. Jerome, as already observed 
(?• 30> perceived the patent symbolism ; it was Jewish 


Humanity lamed by Tradition, healed by the new Doctrine. 
No one can deny that the symbolic statement in Mark is 
a bold, beautiful, poetic metaphor. For the purposes of a 
circle familiar' with such allegories it seems admirably chosen. 
But suppose the incident had actually occurred. What would 
have resulted ? Amazement, doubtless ; but would anyone 
have dreamed of the symbolic meaning? Certainly not. 
Even supposing the Jesus had followed up the miracle 
with an explanation of its significance, it could have made 
no impression. Everyone would have thought of the 
astounding miracle itself; no one would have cared for 
the explanation, which would have seemed trivial. While, 
then, a man might (foolishly enough) go through some queer 
performance (in itself meaningless), and then explain it as 
typifying this or that fact or idea, yet it is quite impossible 
that anyone should perform some confounding miracle, some 
wonder in itself highly significant, and then explain it 
typically. Such an act would defeat its own object, for the 
marvel of the emblem would rivet all the attention, and leave 
the emblematised significance quite forgotten. We may, then, 
dismiss the conceit that the Jesus performed emblematic 
wonders, as merely puerile. Nor can it be said that the 
symbolism was intended not for then, but only for now, to 

^ To any one that may doubt this familiarity and the abundant use of such 
symbolism, it may be recommended to consider these passages taken from 
Cohen's Les Pharisiens : " Not daringf to attack openly the tyrants and enemies 
of Judea, they maintained the popular hatred towards them by a war of allu- 
sions which, intelligible only to their auditors, impassioned them against the 
oppressors of their country. In this way, from the time of the Zealots, Edom 
and Esau, as types of tyranny and atheism, became the personification of 
Roman rule. There was invented and put into circulation, against these two 
foes of Israel, a host of legends applicable to contemporary events ; and these 
have been preserved, although their hidden meaning was lost in the course of 
time. They preached also the Holy War, in veiled words, and that form oi 
warfare, as earnest as a pitched battle, inflamed the popular enthusiasm " 
(Vol. II, p. 282). Similarly, others assailed the Hasmonean house, under guise 
of the academic question : Would pure water lose its purity in passing from a 
pure to an impure vessel? The Pharisees said Nay, and ascribed to the 
Sadducees the opinion that water might be pure though issuing from a field 
strewn with corpses. Now, says Cohen : "The pure water is the Hasmonean 
succession, which, though present in the person of heirs less worthy than the 
first Maccabees, is none the less unaltered, whatever the Sadducees may say 
in their zeal to legitimate the usurpation of Herod by discrediting the later 
Hasmoneans. The field of corpses signifies the massacres on which Herod 
had founded his power, which power the Sadducees hold to be legitimate and 
respectable, despite its criminal origin " (I, p. 362). So it appears that such 
symbolism as we find in the Gospels was not merely a 7tative plants it was a 
rank growth in the soil from which they sprung. 


teach us. Impossible ; for, unless we already have the ideas 
symbolised, we cannot understand the symbol. No ! These 
incidents, so often miraculous, are merely symbolisms ; they 
do nothing but state, in more or less conventional form, 
frequently with vigour and vividness, some truth or doctrine 
held by the symbolist, and attributed to the Jesus as the 
source of all authority. 

59. Still more transparent is the bold and powerful 
account of the demoniac of Gerasa (Mark v, 1-20), which 
so provoked the indignation, contempt, and merriment of the 
militant Huxley. Understood as history, myth, or legend, it 
is certainly utterly impossible, an offence to all reason ; but as 
a symbol it is little less than sublime. Immediately as the 
Jesus issues from the ship upon the shore, behold ! meets him 
(a) Man (notice the single word avOpwirog) coming out from the 
tombs with spirit unclean. Then follows the vivid description, 
which we need not repeat. The Man is possessed by a host 
of foul spirits whose name is Legion. All are expelled, sent 
into the swine, and with these hurled headlong into the sea ; 
whereupon the demoniac seats himself at the feet of the 
Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. Is it possible not to 
recognise herein Humanity — heathen Humanity— possessed 
by its legion of foul, false gods, unsubduable to the laws and 
ordinances of Jehovah, which the Jesus-cult restores to its 
right mind and subjects to the mild dominion of truth and 
reason ? It seems that the mere statement of this interpreta- 
tion is almost an unanswerable demonstration, while its 
perfect harmony with the rest of this great symbolic poem- 
Gospel merely makes assurance doubly sure. Will he who 
doubts this interpretation suggest some other? 

60. Once more we repeat that there is not a single 
distinctly human trait or act ascribed by Mark to the Jesus, 
Perhaps the example that will instantly arise to the heart and 
lips of everyone is the blessing of the little children (Mark x, 
13-16; Matthew xix, 13-15; Luke xviii, 15-17). Certainly 
this is by far the most tender human deed described in the 
Gospels, and has determined more than aught or even all else 
the current conception of the gentle Jesus. However, only 
consider. These ^^ little ones^^ were believers! "Whoever 
scandalises one of these little ones that believe (on me)." 


Note, also, that the question is about the admission ot these 
little children to the Kingdom ; and it is declared that the 
Kingdom is (composed) of such' — that is, of them^ not of 
persons like them. Note, further, that the disciples rebuke 
those that bring the children to the Jesus, which is quite 
unintelligible if ordinary babies or children be in contempla- 
tion. What sense in scandalising a little child? None 

6i. Now turn for a moment to the Talmud and read 
Jebamoth 22a, 48b, 62a, 97b, Bechoroth 47a : " sojourner 
who becomes a proselyte is like a little one who is born."^ 
And, again, Maimon. Mishneh Torah, Issure Biah, chap, xiv, 
par. II : "Gentile that is proselytised and the slave that is 
free, behold ! he is like a little one new born." Here, then, 
the matter is made perfectly clear. These " little children " 
or ** little ones" are neither more nor less than Gentile 
proselytes or converts ; the question is about their admission 
on equal terms with the Jew into the Kingdom, the difficult 
question that so vexed the early Church. The writers are all 
liberal ; they insist on the equal rights of the Gentile ; and 
Matthew, with his wonted splendid rhetoric, denounces ruin 
upon whoever would scandalise them — that is, make them 
offend by imposing upon them Jewish rites and ceremonies 
or restrictions which they would fail to observe, and so 
would catch them as in a trap. Especially noteworthy is 
the use of the term " little ones " six times in the New 
Testament (Matthew x, 42 ; xviii, 6, 10, 14 ; Mark ix, 42 ; 
Luke xvii, 2), always in the sense of Gentile converts, in 

' Compare herewith the saying of Heraclitus {Hipp. Rel.y ix, 9): " Mon 
(life? Zeus?) is a child sporting, playing draughts; of a child (is) the 
Kingdom." It seems to have been famous, and is surely "dark" enough 
to satisfy the most fastidious. Note also that the "little ones" and the 
•' children " are the same, as is clear from Matthew xviii, 1-6. 

' Compare herewith /. /*., ii, 2 : "As newborn babes long for the doctrinal 
undeceiving milk, that by it ye may grow unto salvation, if ye have tasted that 
Chrestus is the Lord.^'' Chrestus is here only another form for Christus, as 
Clemens Alex, and Augustin perceived. Similar is the sense of " babes " in 
the great Gnostic Hymn (Matthew xi, 25-30) : " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of 
heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and under- 
standing, and didst reveal them unto babes." It is the rejection of the Jesus- 
cult by the Jews, and its acceptance by the Gentiles. Note that it is a doctrine 
on which the new-born feed and thrive. The ordinary translation, " The Lord 
is good" or "gracious," cannot be correct, because not in accord with the 


exact accord with the Talmud, which does not say child 
{yeled), nor suckling {yanik)^ nor aught else but little one 

62. We see now with perfect clearness the noble and 
beautiful meaning of this passage, and we see further that 
it bears not the faintest nor remotest witness to the humanity 
of the Jesus ; on the contrary, it testifies eloquently in favour 
of the system of interpretation it illustrates. The question as 
to whether Paul the apostle be obliquely hinted at in the 
little child set in the midst of the disciples may be left undis- 

63. The prevailing symbolism repeatedly exemplified in 
the foregoing pages is so deeply interwoven in the intimate 
texture of the Gospels that to illustrate it adequately would 
call for a verse-by-verse interpretation, such as already 
mentioned on p. 96, but quite impossible in this connection. 
However, it must not pass unnoticed that the failure to 
observe the often thinly-veiled sense of these scriptures has 
betrayed the most learned critics into fallacies they would 
easily have escaped. Thus, in a very recent interview 
(Baltimore American^ February 13, 19 10), the renowned 
Assyriologist of Johns Hopkins, rejecting the positions of 
Professor Drews (known then, perhaps, only through the 
very inadequate, and even misleading, reports of the daily 
press), declares that some "one man," some commanding 
personality, lies behind every world-stirring movement, and 
that therefore the Jesus was historical — which sounds like a 
rectification or specification of the well-known Bacbuc oracle 
of Hegel, that -* individuals stand at the head of all actions, 
and therefore of the world-historical also." Yet the ordinary 
view is that " in the Hegelian system ideas supersede 
persons"; and the lamented Professor Friedrich Paulsen, 
in his well-known Introduction to Philosophy^ pp. 3, 4, affirms 
exactly the opposite, referring "mythico-religious" phenomena 
to the ** collective mind": ''Nowadays no one speaks of a 
founder of the Egyptian or the Greek religion." True he 
says, ** The Christian and Mohammedan religions have their 
religious founders"; these he mentions as peculiar and 
exceptionail — and very naturally, for he had not then read 
Der vorchristliche Jesus and been '' blinded by the multitude 


J of new views," as he wrote shortly before his too early 

64. But, to take a single decisive example, one would 
like to know who was the human personality, " the com- 
mittee of one," back of Mithraism, which neared or touched 
Christianity at so many vital points, and which for so many 
years disputed with it the Roman Empire — at last, indeed, 
unsuccessfully, but in large measure because it was a man's, 
a soldier's, religion (as protector of warriors Mithra received 
for his companion Verethragna^ or Victory — Cumont), and 
failed to make provision for the Eternal Womanly. Was 
Mithra, whose worship, as witnessed by monuments, girdled 
the whole Roman Empire from the Black Sea to the lochs of 
Scotland and the Desert of Sahara — was Mithra really an 
historic personality ? Or was he an immemorial divinity, 
the Light **ever waking, ever watchful," "the Lord of wide 

65. In the same interview we find a liberal interpreta- 
tion of the miracle of Cana. The jars held water, not 
wine. The guests grumbled at such a " dry " feast ; but 
afterwards, recalling how beautifully Jesus talked to them, 
they said it was really wonderful ; no one minded the 
drought ; it seemed ** as though a miracle had been per- 
formed, and he had turned the water into wine." "Thou 
art so near and yet so far." It seems strange that inter- 
pretation can go so widely astray and yet touch the right 
path at an important point. By such exposition the whole 
miracle is reduced to the utmost triviality, and the Jesus is 
equated with some charming post-prandial speaker. That 
such a thing could have been in the mind of the Fourth 
Evangelist, profound and solemn as the ether itself, the far- 
flying eagle of New Testament Scripture, is about as if 
Hegel should have incorporated the Ballad of Nancy Bell in 
the second chapter of his Science of Logic. Yet the meaning 
of the Gnostic Evangelist is really not far to seek. In the 

' Some well-disposed reader may instance Buddhism and Confucianism ; but 
neither of the Buddha nor of Reverend Master Kung- do we know enough to 
estimate his personal contribution to the system that bears his name. We 
may be sure, however, that the doctrine was, like the Gospel commandment, 
made for those that could receive it — that it was indigenous to the soil in which 
it thrived. 


Synoptics we read : " And no one puts new wine into old 
bottles " (Mark ii, 22) ; and again : '' Can the sons of the 
bride-chamber fast while the bridegroom is with them?" 
(Mark ii, 19, 20). Here, then, we have the presence of Jesus 
with his disciples figured as a wedding feast, and his '' new 
doctrine " as new wine that could not be put into old skins, 
which it would burst. In the Fourth Gospel we find these 
same ideas worked up into a distinct account of a miracle, 
precisely in the painstaking, artistic fashion of the Fourth 
Evangelist. In comparison with the wine of the "new 
doctrine," the old formalism of the Jews was mere water in 
the jars " of stone set there after the Jews' manner of purify- 
ing." At his command the wine gushes forth in abundance, 
such wine as the guests had never drunk before. What 
wine, do you ask? The same wine contemplated in the 
Synoptics — the wine of the " New Doctrine." Hereat, indeed, 
the world wonders ; hereby the new God did, indeed, manifest 
his glory ; and no marvel that his disciples believed on him. 
66. Such is the miracle of Cana, the transformation of 
the Jewish formal doctrine of rites and ceremonies, working 
outward purifying, into the new spiritual doctrine of the 
Jesus, cleansing, reviving, and inspiring "the inner man." 
The abundance of this great "gift of the spirit" is clearly 
hinted in one little feature of the narrative : the water-pots 
were filled to the brim. They were six, each of two or three 
firkins — that is, of 18 or 27 gallons ; the six would have held 
from 108 to 162 gallons — certainly a full supply in any case, 
especially after the "wine of the marriage had been con- 
summated. """ Very queer sounds this clause of the Sinaitic 
Codex, confirmed by countless authorities, for which as many 
others have the wholly different "wine having failed";'' 
whence it appears that the clause is a later insertion, designed 
to explain the succinct original statement, " and wine they 
had not" — that is, the "new doctrine," the Jesus-cult, was 
not yet theirs. Now we see clearly who is this " Mother of 
the Jesus" — none other than the Jewish Church, as Jerome 
long ago clearly perceived ;^ the same mother who with " his 

^ 8ti (rvvereXiadT] 6 olvos tov yd/nov. " i/ffrep^aavTOS otpov. 

3 For in commenting on Galatians i, 19 he says : " Now let this suffice, that 
on account of his high character and incomparable faith and extraordinary 


brethren stood without " (the Kingdom), calling him and 
seeking him (Mark iii, 31-35). 

67. This great marriage feast at Cana is, then, nothing 
less than the introduction of the Jesus-cult into the world, 
the wedding of the Greek and Jewish religions into the " new 
doctrine " destined to rejuvenate the earth. Most appro- 
priately, it is called the " beginning of the signs,'' where we 
may almost translate (T-qjxuwv by "symbols." Of course, in 
all such elaborations certain details are introduced merely 
for artistic effect, and it would be puerile to dwell on such or 
to attempt to force an interpretation ; but it seems really 
surprising how accurately the symbolism is carried out, and 
how vividly the general situation is delineated. Kindred 
remarks hold of all the Gospel narratives. Hosts of par- 
ticulars may be only delicate touches of the author's pencil, 
designed simply to heighten the colour or to improve the 
dramatic setting ; and occasionally some ancient mythical 
motive may have been active, or some historical reminiscence 
{ftot of the Jesus) ; yet it is astonishing how large a fraction 
of the Gospel total urgently invites symbolic interpreta- 

68. The foregoing exegesis of this passage seems so 
very obvious that little honour can attach to originality, or 
even to priority. It may, however, not be amiss to remark 
that it was worked out fully by the present writer in a paper 
written some twenty years ago on Numerical Symbolism in 

wisdom he was called the Lord's brother, and because he was the first 
that presided over the Church which, the first to believe in Christ, had con- 
sisted of Jews. The other apostles are also called brothers (John xx, 17, 
Psalm xxii, 22) ; but he pre-eminently is called brother to whom the Lord, at 
his departure to the Father, had committed the sons of his mother" («.^., the 
members of the Church at Jerusalem, as is manifest and is stated in the words 
Hierosolymae, scilicet in the Index locupletissimus to Jerome's works). 

' The foreg^oingf paragraph seems to be important. To disregard the 
contribution of the poetic faculty, and to insist on the emblematic inter- 
pretation of every detail, would be fatal to any proper comprehension even ot 
avowed allegory. As an example, take the famous parable of the People 
Israel as a vineyard, found in Isaiah v, 1-7. Here the general sense is 
straightway obvious, and the interpretation is expressly given in verse 7. 
But who can interpret the various details of verse 2 ? No one. They serve 
merely to make vivid the main idea that Jehovah had been very kind to 
Israel ; they are mere filling. Scores of similar instances present them- 
selves in the Gospels. We must be content to recognise the general content 
in the broad outlines, in the diagram of the symbol, and not seek to trace it 
in the more delicate shadings. 


the Fourth Gospel (not published, but circulated privately), 
and was with him original. Since then he has read Thoma's 
discussion in Das Johannes-Evangeltum (1882), pp. 411-418, 
where the story is interpreted symbolically with great 
minuteness ; while, strangely enough, the heart of the 
matter, the identification of the wine with the ** new 
doctrine," is omitted. Kreyenbiihl, in his Evangelium der 
Wahrhett (igo^) J glances at this ''sign" repeatedly, under- 
standing it quite correctly (i, 441, 587 ff.; ii, 372, 481-483). 
Indeed, for one that has feeling for the atmosphere of thought 
that envelopes this Gospel it appears not easy to go far 

69. It remains to observe that the notion of wine 
instead of water is very familiar, and is found in Philo 
(Leg-. Alleg.y ii, 76a) ; " But let Melchisedek bring 
forth wine instead of water, and drench and fortify souls, 
that they be possessed of divine intoxication more sober 
than sobriety itself. For a Priest is Logos, that has 
the Ens as lot, and sublimely thereof and importantly 
and magnificently speaketh. For of the Highest he is 
Priest " 

70. Here, then, is a well-marked example of evangelic 
symbolism, plain beyond all reasonable doubt. Almost 
equally clear are all the other (six) signs in this "spiritual" 
Gospel. Thus, consider the miracle of the loaves and fishes, 
given also in several forms in the Synoptics. Professor 
Paul Haupt thinks that the hearers of Jesus listened as in a 
trance, ** none thought of luncheon," and "this story, told 
and retold, came to assume the evidence and character of a 
miracle" — an interpretation of which it would be hard to 
find even a faint suggestion in any of the texts (Matthew 
xiv, 17-21; XV, 32-38; Mark vi, 34-44; viii, 1-9; Luke 
ix, 12-17 5 John vi, 5-71). Even more serious, the essence 
of the matter is again evaporated or made utterly trivial. 
Who could have any reverence for a religion that originated 
in such silly misunderstandings and exaggerations? Are 
the four Gospels to be interpreted as specimens of Rocky 
Mountain humour? Sincerely and unreservedly as we 
admire the learning and ability of such expositors, we must 
reject their expositions without hesitance, as inadequate 


historically and unequal every way to the psychological 
demands of the case.* 

71. John is himself the earliest interpreter of the 
Synoptics ; and his interpretation, while, of course, it must 
be interpreted, is nevertheless a trustworthy and unam- 
biguous guide. We notice the long discourse with which 
he supplements his brief account. The Jesus himself figures 
therein as the bread of life, the bread that came down from 
heaven. To eat him is to sate hunger forever. " Except ye 
eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, ye have 
not life in yourselves." "For my flesh is true meat, and my 
blood is true drink." It seems that language could hardly 
be plainer ; that the meaning must be patent to the dullest 
sense. It is simply certain that this bread and wine of the 
spirit must be a doctrine, an idea, a cult. To eat, to feed on 
learning, is a form of speech familiar to all times, modern 
as well as ancient. ** Eat this roll, and go speak unto the 
house of Israel " (Ezek. iii, i), is the angel's command to the 
Son of Man. " And I took the little book out of the angel's 
hand and ate it up " (Rev. x, 10). 

72. This weighty thought of complete appropriation of 
the '' New Doctrine " under the emblems of wine and bread 
(of life) has found impressive symbolic expression in the 
Eucharist, and is still preserved under such names as trans- 
or con-substantiation — quantum mutatus ah illo ! Notice 
that it is the disciples, the first learners of the " New 
Doctrine," that distribute it to the multitude; nor is there 
meant any personal teaching received from the Jesus, for 
nowhere in the New Testament, nowhere in the apostolic or 
even immediately post-apostolic age, do we find any such 
teaching in any measure the burden of their proclamation. 
On the contrary, it was not any teaching hy the Jesus, but a 
doctrine about the Jesus,'' that they everywhere published 
from shore to shore, as did the eloquent missionary Apollos 

* Most interestkig- is the " solution " g-iven by Schweitzer {Quest of the His- 
torical Jesus ^ p. 374), •' that the whole is historical, except the closing- remark 
that they were all filled." Far from being " filled," "each received a very 
little "; it is a " morsel of bread which he gives his disciples to distribute to the 
people." There would seem to be little magic in such a miracle ; but how 
would it have pleased the hung-ering multitudes? Would they have hoped 
much from the kingship of such a wonder-worker? 

^ rd 7re/)i rov 'lTj(rou. 


all round the Mediterranean long before he had heard of the 
New Testament story, " knowing only the Baptism of John '* 
(Acts xviii, 24, 25). 

73. As already stated, space is wanting to discuss further 
the miracles of the Jesus, and to exhibit the deep symbolism 
that pervades them all. But before concluding these 
specimens let me insist once more that it is on the Gospel of 
Mark that the issue is most sharply joined. " The main 
data of his life as enumerated in the Gospels, especially in 
Mark, may have actually occurred " (Open Courts January, 
1910, p. 30) ! Nay, it is precisely in this Gospel that 
the humanising process has scarcely begun, that we can see 
the divine lineaments most unmistakably, the human scarcely 
at all. "And then," says Pindar's Medeia, "the lonely- 
faring god came suddenly upon us, having cast about him 
the shining semblance of a reverend man." There is, in 
fact, in this earliest extant evangelic story not a distinctive 
human feature ; it is indeed hardly even in any guise of 
man, but openly and unambiguously as God, that the Lion 
of the tribe of Judah strides through this Gospel. Who will 
overturn this universal negative by producing a single 
unequivocal affirmative instance ? 


74. As to the " Sayings " (Logoi, Logia), descended from 
a source higher up than the narration, they have been 
assembled from every point of the literary compass. Thus, 
for Matthew v, 25 (Luke xii, 58) we must turn to the Twelve 
Tables, I ;' that a Roman consciousness is speaking is plain 
from the word quadrans (Ko§/oavrrjv), which Luke naturally 
turns into XtTrrov (though D, with others, retains fcoSjoavrr^v). 
For the justly famous saying (Mark ii, 27), ** The sabbath 
was made for man, and not man for the sabbath," we revert 
to 2 Maccabees v, 19 : " For not the race for the place, but the 
place for the race the Lord elected." The antithetic senti- 
ments, ** He that is not with me is against me " (Matthew 
xii, 30 ; Luke xi, 23), and " Who is not against us (you) is 
for us (you) " (Mark ix, 40 ; Luke ix, 50), were uttered the 

* Si in ius vocat, ito. Ni it, antestamino ; igitur em capito. 


\ first by Pompey, the second by Caesar, and most appro- 
priately by each, at the beginning of the Civil War, as we 
read in Cicero, pro Q. Ligario,^ "There is none good but 
one, God" (Mark x, i8 ; Luke xviii, 19) recalls the Pytha- 
gorean maxim, ^ ''There is none wise but God"; while the 
very significant form, " Why askest thou me about the 
good? One is the Good" (Matthew xix, 17), repeats the 
doctrine of the Megarean Euclid : *' One is the Good, though 
called by many names" {Diog. Laert, ii, 106). True, the 
gender is masculine in Matthew, but the sense and pertinence 
of the answer to the question require the neuter, and the two 
genders were not distinguished in the primitive Aramaic. 
Merx renders the Syriac : " Was fragst du mich iiber das 
Gute? Denn einer ist der Gute (oder : der Gute ist einer, 
Oder : Das Gute ist eines)." Plainly only the last is relevant 
to the query. 

75. The profoundest recesses of ethical character are laid 
bare in the famous verse of the Sermon on the Mount, 
Matthew v, 28 ; but the same depths had already been 
fathomed 400 years before by the second head of the 
Academy: "Xenocrates, the companion of Plato, used to 
say that it matters not whether one put the feet or the eyes 
into the house of another ; for the sin is the same when one 
views regions, and when one enters places one ought not" 
(Aelianus, Varice Historice^ xiv, 42). The difference between 
the two pronouncements is not ethical, but rhetorical ; and 
the writer has no quarrel with anyone who prefers the 
rhetoric of the Evangelist to that of the philosopher. 

Naturally, the thought became a commonplace in Greek 
ethics, and even much earlier. " What a beautiful boy ! '* 

* 33* "Valeat tua vox ilia, quae vicit : te enim dicere audiebamus nos 
omnis adversaries putare, nisi qui nohiscum essent ; te omnis, qui contra te non 
essent, tuos." It is peculiarly gratifying- to find in Preuschen's Zeitschrift fiir 
die neutestaineniliche Wissenschaft, igi2, I, pp. 84-87, a careful discussion by 
W. Nestle, who reaches precisely the conclusion here enounced as obvious on 
bare statement. But when he says, " Certainly neither our evangelists nor 
their source knew Cicero's oration," he would seem to be wise above what is 
written, though he is right in regarding these sayings as '* winged words " 
flying round the Mediterranean. It matters little that Nestle does not mention 
the priority of ^cc^ Z)^M5 at this point. Such omissions are no less frequent 
than trivial. Critics may not like to disfigure their pages with such personali- 

" Reproduced by Plato {Phaedrus, 278, D) : r6 jxh ao^Sv, c& #at5pc, KoXeiv 
^fioiye lUya eXvai 5ok«, koL OeQ fi6v(p irpiirnv. 


said Sophocles ; but Pericles answered, reproachfully : *' An 
official must hold, not only his hands, but also his eyes in 

The doctrine of self-abasement (as it stands written, 
especially in Matthew xxiii, 11, 12) seems at first blush alto- 
gether peculiar to the Gospel. In fact, however, it was 
known well enough even in Roman imitations of Greek 
moralists, as appears from Cicero, De Officiis, i, 90 : " So 
that they appear to teach rightly who admonish us, the 
higher we are, the more humbly [summissius] to deport 
ourselves." Yea, we may confidently maintain that, if we 
possessed the Greek ethic in its original form and entirety, 
including the writings of Antiochus and his Fifth Academy, 
instead of merely meagre remnants or dim and confused 
reflections thereof, we should find anticipated practically the 
whole ethics of the New Testament. Even the dogma of the 
duty of Universal Love to man must have found expression 
therein, for it is only an immediate and obvious corollary 
from that other still deeper dogma of Common Humanity, of 
Man as Man, which Cicero so loves to re-echo in his favourite 
word, humanitas. Hence, it followed directly that one should 
treat every man, even the unworthy, even one's enemies, with 
kindness — yea, with affection ; for were they not one's fellow- 
men ? Assuredly, it is not to persecutors as persecutors, but 
as our brother-men, that we are to do good. Exactly to this 
point of view had Aristotle already attained ; for when 
reproached for doing a good deed to a reprobate, he 
answered : ** Not to the man, but to the human." ^ 

It is this same dogma that forms the basis of the Law ot 
Reciprocity, the Golden Rule (Matthew vii, 12), as well as of 
the doctrine of the equality of all men in the eyes of the God 
of nature (Matthew v, 45). 

75<2. The doctrine of the tree to be judged by its fruits is 
conspicuous in the Gospels (Matthew vii, 16-21 ; Luke vi, 
43-46). But it was a commonplace far older than the 
Sermon on the Mount. Says Ovid {Ars Amat.y I, 747) : " If 
any one hopes this, let him hope tamarisks will bear apples, 
and let him search for honey in the river's mud." Plutarch 

* Stobaeus, 37, 32 : oi t^ &vdp(iyir(p dXX4 rif dvdpoirlv(f. 


also {De Tranq. An., xiii) : "We do not expect the vine to 
bear figs, nor the olive clusters." How idle, then, to ask 
whether the question in Matthew vii, i6 or Luke vi, 44 be the 
original. Both — and neither. 

75^. At this point it becomes necessary to note the fact 
that the most distinctive feature of the Gospel, or at least 
of the discourses of Jesus, is their prevailing sententious 
character. More than all else, it is the gnomic allied with 
the parabolic element that impresses the reader, and has 
shaped the current idea of the uniqueness of these composi- 
tions and their incontrovertible testimony to a single incom- 
parable originative personality. In fact, however, it is pre- 
cisely this self-same stylistic quality that stamps these writings 
as not emanating from one remarkable individual, but as the 
aggregated product of the collective intelligence of nations 
and ages. A teacher may, indeed, intersperse his discourse 
with occasional apljorisms ; but living speech, almost exclu- 
sively aphoristic, would be unnatural, and would repel rather 
than attract. The poems of such as Phocylides and Theognis, 
the Maxims of a Rochefoucauld, the Lacon of Colton, and 
other such "Proverbial Philosophies," are the laboured 
outputs of years of solitary reflection. A proverb is, indeed, 
the wisdom of many, but it is rarely the wit of one. He who 
examines even a dictionary of quotations, or collates saws in 
various languages, must soon perceive that their perfected 
forms have nearly always been gradual growths that may be 
traced back through cruder and more cumbrous stages. 
Even in the Gospels themselves we find many examples ot 
more and of less consummate artistry. Witness the energic 
grandeur of Matthew vii, 24-27 ; how superior to Luke vi, 
47-49 ! Compare also the more primitive Lucan Sermon in 
the Plain with the far more elevated and spiritualised Matthasan 
Sermon on the Mount. Compare likewise that brilliant 
cluster, the Beatitudes, with its constituent gems lying 
scattered in Isaiah Iv, i, Ixi, 2 ; Jeremiah xxxi, 24 ; Psalms 
xxiv, 3, 4, xxxvii, 11, cix, 28, cxxvi, 5, 6. Surely it is not 
hard to forgive the scribe who, by omitting a single letter (<t), 
has sublimed the primary angelic song, " Glory on high to 
God, and on earth peace among men of (His) good-will " 
(ue»y His people Israel), into "Glory on high to God, and 


on earth peace, among men good-will." Such cameo work 
abounds in these scriptures. The starry words of the New 
Testament are evidently stones that have been polished to 
perfection by the attrition of the ages. 

75c. There can hardly be a more serious error than to 
ascribe this purely literary quality to the personality of Jesus, 
or, indeed, to any other. Aside from the fact that he would 
in all probability have spoken Aramean, the literary style — 
so far ranging from Mark to John — stands in no relation to 
the supposed individuality. Jesus and John are thought as 
contrasted, and even antipodal ; yet their styles are the same. 
The great speech of the latter (Matthew iii, 7-12), with slight 
changes, would fit as well the lips of the former. Indeed, 
both denounce the Pharisees as a ** brood of vipers" 
(Matthew iii, 7 ; xxiii, 33) ; both use precisely the same 
words about the Tree and the Fire (Matthew iii, 10 ; vii, 19) ; 
they proclaim the Kingdom in identical terms (Matthew iii, 2 ; 
iv, 17). 

75<^. In this connection the recent papyrus finds, 
with their new ** Sayings of the Jesus," are of striking 
interest. Though each introduced by the solemn formula, 
" The Jesus says " — apparently exactly in line with the Old 
Testament preamble, "Thus saith Jehovah" — they* seem 
often to have nothing in common with the Gospels but the 
unmistakable gnomic stamp — the hall-mark of the earliest 
Christian literature. Clearly they are disiecta membra of a 
once imposing organism. Such Logoi may have existed 
aforetime in almost countless number. Oblivion has 
swallowed them up with so much else of ancient literature. 
Here and there some few have escaped, and are seen rari 
nantes in gurgite vasto. The salvage of our canonics is like 
the seven tragedies of Sophocles— seven out of eighty ! 
We may suspect, however, that what has survived is the 
best — not all of it the best, nor all of the best, but on the 
whole the most worth saving. The Christian consciousness 
has sifted and re-sifted, has tested the spirits whether they be 
of God ; it has polished and refined, has set and re-set, the 
precious stones, until the great citadel of its faith gleams and 
flashes like the bejewelled gates of the New Jerusalem. 

75^. Illustrations of the foregoing theses might be fnulti- 


plied interminably. Take one additional, to which Eisler 
(Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt, p. 733) has already called 
attention. In Herodotus (I, 141) Cyrus answers the request 
of lonians and Cohans for terms they had already rejected 
with the ** saying" of the fisher who, having caught in a net 
the fishes he had vainly tried to lure ashore by piping, on 
observing their leaping about, said to them : " Cease dancing 
for me now, since when I piped you would not come out and 
dance." Evidently this was a familiar fable, to which the 
Gospel parallel (Matthew xi, 17 ; Luke vii, 32) harks back, 
in expanded and more rhythmic form, though in being 
diverted to its new application its edge has been somewhat 
turned. Such "-^sopic say ings " (Logoi) abounded, and formed 
a staple of cultured Hellenic table-talk, just as the Italian 
interlards his speech with proverbs and the American with 
humorous exaggerations. The Evangelists did not, indeed, 
take from Herodotus, but from the common treasury of 
ancient wit and wisdom. To attempt to deduce the character 
of Jesus from the " Sayings " ascribed to him is like trying 
to make out the features of the man that sat for a composite 

76. In still further illustration let it be noted that the 
remarkable and important statement of the method of Jesus 
(Mark iv, 33, 34), ''And without a parable spoke he not unto 
them, but privately to his own disciples he expounded all 
things," seems echoed back from the Thecetetus of Plato 
(152, C), where Socrates exclaims : " Well, then, by the 
Graces, was not Protagoras an almighty wise one, who. 
spake this in enigma to us the mixed multitude, but to his 
disciples in secret spake the truth?" For the celebrated 
oracle concerning the two ways (Matthew vii, 13, 14) we 
revert to the Eleusinian mysteries ; for the saying about 
measures (Matthew vii, 2) to Hesiod ; for the terrible picture 
of social conditions preceding the impending cataclysm 
(Mark xiii, 12, 13 ; Matthew x, 21) to the cuneiform inscrip- 
tions. Similarly, in i Cor. ii, 9 we hear a clear echo of 
Empedocles (I, 8, 9a, Plut, Mor, 17E) : "So neither seen 
are these things by man, nor heard, nor by mind com- 

77. In the mysterious utterance, i Cor. xv, 28, '* that 


God may be all things in all,'" we meet with the famous 
doctrine (homoeomery) of Anaxagoras, that all elements or 
" seeds of things " were so completely mixed that something 
of each appeared in each, ''all things in everything."^ So, 
too, the extraordinary combination in Eph. iii, 18, **the 
breadth and length and height and depth," is a formula 
recurrent in the magic papyri. 

78. Likewise the pathetic exclamation in Romans (vii, 24), 
" Me, miserable man ! who shall deliver me from the body 
of this death?" is heard again in Epiktetus, quoted by 
M. Antoninus (iv, 41), '' Thou art a little soul carrying a 
corpse," as is also the notable verse (vii, 15) describing the 
inner conflict of natures, "■ For not what I would, that do I 
practise ; but what I hate, that I do." So Epiktetus declares 
{Diss, II, xxvi, 4) : ''(The sinner) (6 a^ia^ravinv) what he will, 
does not; and what he will not, does." This epistle (not to 
the Romans, but " to all those that are in love of God " ^) is, 
in fact, in high degree Stoical, as witness the frequent 
recurrence of " God forbid " (^7) yevotro), the logical use of 
which was peculiar to Stoical disputation. It pervades 

* Ifva 17 6 ^e6s [tA] Traira iv ira(riv. 

^ Kal oIjtoos d.v etr) iv Travrl irdvTa, iravTUV jjikv iv ira.aiv ivdvTuv, and many 
equivalent phrases. 

3 So reads the older text of i, 7 : tSLo-iv tois oda-tv iv aydirri deov — see the proof 
in the writer's article in the Journal of Biblical Literaturcy Part I, pp. 1-21, 
1901, and the words of Harnack in a following- number of Preuschen's 
Zeitschrift (1902, p. 84) : " It is the custom to remain content with the Received 
Text, but Smith is right in declaring it interpolated"; and again, after state- 
ment of reasons: '*'Ev 'Pufirj is, therefore, to be regarded as a very old inter- 
polation." In his Einleitung in das Neue Testament^ i, 278 (1897), Zahn spoke 
of the absence of iv 'l^dj/J-v "in ancient times " "from an occidental (Nr. i, 2) 
and an oriental (Nr. 5, 6) text," but never suggested that either was the original 
text. On the contrary : " We see, therefore, much rather a process of text- 
corruption, which, having begun in i, 7, has in G developed so much further as 
to involve i, i6, also." After writing- to me twice about it and pondering the 
demonstration given in 1901 and Harnack's acceptance thereof in 1902, in the 
third edition of his Einleitung (p. 273 ff.)^ he has abandoned his former 
position, and " has given the exacter proof" that the text with "^o»z^" cannot 
be " original "; and he repeats and completes the same in his recent commentary 
on Romans^ Exc. I., p. 615^., still speaking of iv"P(S}/ji,r) (instead of 'Pci/ij?), as 
interpolated ! Similarly Lietzmann, in his commentary just appearing. But 
neither of the twain mentions the present writer, because, forsooth, as a mere 
outlandish author, he has no rights that they are bound to respect. A queer 
survival of primitive " group " morality. 



7aL^We are thus brought to the '* Pauline " epistles, and 
especially to the " acknowledged " first four — the innermost 
citadel of liberal criticism. When driven from every other 
stronghold, the higher critic will certainly take refuge in this- 
redoubtable quadrangle. No elaborate attempt can be made 
in this work to dislodge him thence. Only a few observa- 
tions, however, are needed to show that even it is not 

80. In the first place, it was precisely the long-continued 
study of these epistles that drove this writer to his present 
position. In fact, the extremely slight dependence of exactly 
these four on any biographical theory of the Jesus is, in rela- 
tion to the present discussion, their most striking feature. 
We do, indeed, hear of the death and resurrection ; but in 
the only allusion in Romans (e.g.) to the crucifixion it is 
declared (vi, 6), ** knowing this, that the old man was 
concrucified " (with the Christ ?) ; and again, " we were then 
consepulchred with him " (vi, 4) ; so, too, in Gal. ii, 20 : "I 
have been concrucified with Christ." Of course, it is easy to 
say that these expressions are mere figures ; but if there was 
a symbolic burial (in baptism, as all admit), why not also a 
symbolic crucifixion ? 

81. Consider, again, the phrase in Gal. iii, i : "O foolish 
Galatians, who was bewitching you, to whom before your 
eyes Jesus Christ was portrayed crucified?" The word 
irposypcKjiri (portrayed) hardly admits of satisfactory render- 
ing, but it indicates certainly a most vivid depiction, and 
apparently a physical representation, and much more than 
a teaching " most definitely and plainly concerning the 
meritorious efficacy of the death of Christ " — a thing which 
Peter and Paul nowhere do in Acts. 

82. Consider, again, the Pauline boast, " bearing round 
always in the body the dying of the Jesus " (2 Cor. iv, 10), 
and that other, '* For I carry in my body the brands' {aTiyp.aTa) 
of the Jesus " (Gal. vi, 17) ; and it will seem hard to resist the 

* Similarly mig-ht the follower of Mithras have spoken, for he was branded 
indelibly with a hot iron (Cumont, Les Religions orientates, p. xiv). 


suggestion that there was in the very earliest initiations, as 
part of " the mystery of godliness," some physical representa- 
tion of the suffering God, in which the initiates shared a 
symbolic life-and-death history, perhaps not wholly unlike 
what was enacted in Greek mysteries. Further guesses need 
»„^not now be hazarded at this point, but reference may be 
made to i Tim. iii, 16 as lending colour to the foregoing. 

8s» An objector will certainly cite the Last Supper as 
witnessed in i Cor. xi, 2^ff. But the remarkable thing is 
that the apostle does not profess to know about this matter 
(itself a symbolism, as we have just seen) from any human 
historic testimony (as that accomplished Grecian, Georg 
Heinrici, clearly perceives, and sets forth in Meyer's 
Commentary), but by divine revelation : ** For I received 
from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord 
Jesus," &c. We may not be sure what the apostle means, 
but it is surely not any witness he bears to the supposed 
historic fact. (See Addendum, infra.) 

84. Once more, that these epistles are saturated with 
Gnosticism comes variously to light. A single illustration 
must suffice. In i Cor. xv, 8, we read : " And last of all, as 
if to the Ektroma, he appeared also to me." Our translators 
have rendered wcnrepeX t(^ iKTpdyfiaTL by ** as unto one born out 
of due time"; but in so doing they omit an important word, 
the definite article ti^ (to the). Their word one excludes the 
Greek article. This translation cannot, then, be correct ; it 
does not give the sense of the original. The subtlest spirit of 
Protestant exegesis, Carl Holsten, gives half a large page of 
fine print to explaining this " dark expression "; but in the 
end he elicits nothing that is less dark, though confident that 
his " alone " " is the explanation of the whole passage." This 
same he had evolved from his own inner consciousness, in 
apparent disdain or ignorance of the fact that the Ektroma is 
a constantly recurring term in the Gnostic doctrine of Sophia 
and the ^ons, where it is entirely in place and quite compre- 
hensible, however visionary. That such a doctrine and 
application of the term could have proceeded from this 
passage, to which they are quite unrelated, is in the last 
degree improbable ; that the term should have been imported 
into our passage and used there as sufficiently definite and 


well known to call for no comment is a simple and natural 
literary phenomenon. (See Addendum, infra.) 

85. Meyer and Heinrici explain the article ru} as desig- 
nating Paul as " pre-eminently the premature birth {Fehlge- 
hurt) among the apostles " ! Paul, whose birth into their 
ranks was not premature, but postmature ! Nor do they 
any more than Holsten dream of the Gnostic employment of 
the term. But when they tell us of '* what weight Paul here 
and in ix, i lays on the actual and real appearance of the 
Lord," we must reply that he does indeed put his own 
experiences in the same line with those of the others. Hence 
we may judge of theirs by his own ; but his own seem to 
have been purely intellectual, or at least mental merely : 

" When it pleased (God) to reveal His Son in (or through) 

me, that I should preach him in the nations, straightway I 
conferred not with flesh and blood, etc." (Gal. i, 15-17). 
Meyer and Heinrici have imported the words ''actual and 
real " out of their own theory into the statement of the 
Apostle, to whom these appearances were not visions, but 
spiritual perceptions of the fundamental dogmas of his 

86. Turn which way you will, then, it becomes ever 
clearer that exegesis and commentary have hitherto been 
playing on the face of these wondrous scriptures, that there 
is everywhere a far deeper primitive sense than even the 
critics have suspected, that we have been feeding on the husk 
and not on the kernel, that we have been trying to sound 
the depths of the ocean with fish-hooks. 

87. This remark leads to the further observation that the 
scheme of interpretation herein sporadically exemplified — an 
interpretation so strenuously suggested and recommended by 
the pre-eminence of the parable in the Gospels — could hardly 
be misunderstood more completely than if supposed directed 
against the New Testament, or even against Christianity in 
its original sublime conception. Interpretation, indeed, has 
strictly nothing to say either for or against ; it raises no 
question of true or false ; its sole object is to understand, to 
reveal the mind of the author, to find out precisely what he 
meant, what he intended to say. Faith and unfaith have 
nothing whatever to do with the case. 


88. However, it is possible and even proper to lay two 
interpretations side by side and to ask which is the nobler, 
worthier, more inspiring, more uplifting, more soul-satisfy- 
ing. Such a test must not indeed affect in the least our 
critical judgment, for our allegiance is due, first and last and 
all the time, to the truth, to the God of things as they are ; 
yet we need not disclaim either preference or aspiration. 
Accordingly, comparison is boldly invited, comparison of the 
symbolic interpretation with either the current liberal or the 
traditional conservative, in the confident anticipation that 
any unbiassed intelligence will perceive that the interpretation 
here illustrated is not only historically, philologically, and 
theologically justified and demanded, but that it renders far 
superior honour and majesty, power, beauty, and sublimity 
to the Apostles and to the New Testament, to the Christian 
religion and to the Jesus the Christ. 



89. A very plain indication (which, like other matters 
discussed in these Addenda, could not find a natural place 
for treatment in the body of the foregoing discourse, but is 
too important to be passed by unnoticed) of the very early 
identification of the Jesus with Jehovah is found in the 
regular application to him of the term Kyrios (Lord), which 
is the uniform Septuagint rendering of the divine name, the 
tetragram JHVH, in the Old Testament. It is true that this 
word Kyrios is also employed in the New Testament precisely 
as is the term lord in English, or seigneur in French, or 
Herrxn German. Nevertheless, in spite of such use as a class 
name, when used with the article and without specification, 
as in the lord^ and der Herr, and le seigneur, it is perfectly 
unambiguous, and means Jehovah, God. So, too, in the New 
Testament : Lord, the Lord, the Lord Jesus, the Lord Christ, 
all mean one thing, and only one thing — namely, the Supreme 
Being — the Jehovah of the Hebrew, the God of the Greek. 


90. In the case of such a usage, much depends upon the 
consciousness on which it is based. If any deeply religious 
western Aryan in this age speaks of the Lord, the Saviour, 
the Redeemer, the Messiah, no one ever dreams of any other 
than the one necessary reference. The speaker would be 
horrified if anyone should misunderstand him. Now the 
consciousness that speaks to us throughout the New Testa- 
ment was more intensely religious than perhaps any at the 
present day ; it was saturated with the Septuagint and 
kindred versions of the Old Testament. The use of the 
term Kyrios to designate God and to translate Jehovah 
(Adonai) was as familiar to it as indeed it was possible for 
any use to be. When, then, such a consciousness applies 
the term regularly to the Jesus, the conclusion is quite 
unescapable that it would thereby identify the Jesus with 

91. Let it be noted carefully that this application of the 
divine name is not a late phenomenon. It did not make its 
appearance gradually ; there is no trace of slow and cautious 
introduction. By no means ! The very earliest layers of 
the New Testament deposit, if we may trust the results of 
critical inquiry, show this usage as distinctly as the latest. 
Leaving aside all possibly doubtful cases, we find the Jesus 
called the Lord in Matthew xxi, 3 ; xxviii, 6 (not to mention 
iii, 3); Mark xi, 3 (xvi, 19); Luke ii, 11, 26; vii, 13, 19; 
X, I, 39j 41 ; xi, 39; xii, 42 ; xiii, 15 ; xvii, 5, 6 ; xviii, 6; 
xix, 8 ; xix, 31, 34 ; xxii, 61 ; xxiv, 3, 34 ; Acts, i, 21 ; iv, 33 ; 
V, 14; viii, 16; ix, I, et passim. In the Epistles, even the 
very earliest (supposedly), as Galatians and i Thessalonians, 
the usage in question is so well known and regular as to 
make citations superfluous, if not impertinent. Similarly in 
the Apocalypse, as we have already seen. 

92. In fact, the term is applied so indiscriminately that 
it is a matter of difficulty and often impossibility to determine 
whether the reference is to the Lord God the Jehovah of the 
Old Testament, or to the Lord Jesus the New Testament 
Jehovah. This notable and indisputable phenomenon seems 
to exclude positively every theory of a gradual deification of 
the Jesus. Had any such process taken place, it appears 
scarcely possible that no trace of it whatever should have 


survived, and that the earliest extant literature in equal 
measure with any other should have unhesitatingly and with- 
out explanation applied to the Jesus a term that on its face 
identified him with the Supreme Deity. 

93. Hereto we must add the further consideration that 
doubts and questionings concerning the human character of 
the Jesus make themselves heard both in and out of the New 
Testament precisely as we might expect, if the notion was not 
primitive. Thus, no trace of such a scruple is to be found in 
the great mass of the New Testament scriptures. If the 
earliest propaganda proclaimed a God, an over-earthly being 
to whom a certain earthly career was ascribed only symbolically 
and by way of teaching certain profound, important, and 
revolutionary truths — if no one at first took this ascription 
literally, but understood it correctly in harmony with the 
general religious conceptions of the age and clime — then there 
is nothing to wonder at : the earliest presentations contain no 
controversy on this point, because this point was not in 
dispute ; it was fairly and generally comprehended. 

94. If, as the days went by, the symbolism began to 
crystallise and to be taken literally, if increasing emphasis 
fell upon the human aspect, upon the historic representation, 
the incarnation or coming in the flesh, then the champions 
of this materialism would naturally begin to recommend it 
in writing ; they would declare it was the truth, and the only 
truth, and they would proceed to denounce the non-progressive 
adherents of the elder view as old fogies, as heretics, and as 

95. Exactly such denunciation we find in the admittedly 
late First and Second Epistles of John. In i John iv, 2, the 
test is stated : '' Hereby know ye the Spirit of God : Every 
spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh 
is of God : and every spirit which confesseth not (or annulleth) 
Jesus is not of God : and this is the (spirit) of the antichrist, 
whereof ye have heard that it cometh ; and now it is in the 
world already." Similarly 2 John 7: "For many deceivers 
are gone forth into the world, (even) they that confess not 
that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver 
and the antichrist." Here, then, at that comparatively early 
date, in the bosom of the Church we find these antichrists, 


whose offence was not that they denied the Christ, but that 
they rejected the coming in the flesh as an historical fact, 

96. Of course, we are told universally that this rejection 
was a new error just introduced into the Church. Certainly, 
in all such cases, each side must represent its view as the 
good old truth, the other as a novelty and false. The '' anti- 
christs " whom John denounces would almost surely have 
replied that theirs was the old truth and his the new error. 
Which was right? We must weigh the probabilities in the 
case. Observe that John represents a rather lower view of 
the Jesus Christ than is familiar to us from the early scrip- 
tures. The Jesus is presented almost exclusively as the Son^ 
in contradistinction from the Father. Such a Son is, of 
course, divine, but the naive, unquestioning identification of 
the Jesus with God is not found. These Johannine epistles 
nowhere use the term Lord, 

97. It seems impossible to read these epistles without 
feeling that the position assigned to the Son is distinctly 
subordinate to that of the Father. Very different is the 
earlier language of Acts, of the Paulines, of the Apocalypse, 
of the Synoptics, where the Son-Father relation is indeed 
expressed, but not so emphasised, and where the Jesus is 
continually called by the highest designation of Lord. 

98. Now, if the humanity of the Jesus was an integral 
part of the earliest Christian consciousness, then at the date 
and stage represented by the Johannines this consciousness 
would seem to be growing faint, even passing away among 
many. Along with this there would naturally go an increas- 
ingly lively consciousness of the divinity, an exaltation or 
even an over-exaltation of his Godhead. This, however, we 
do not find ; rather the opposite, at least in the Johannines. 
Nor can we make it at all clear how the denial of the humanity 
came about, if from the first it was preached and belonged 
essentially to the propaganda. No superior wit is required 
to recognise that the natural desire to make vivid the doctrine 
and symbols in question would of itself bring forth a host of 
narratives all contributing to the humanisation of the Hero. 
No one that postulates the fundamental principles of human 
nature can fail to admit the necessity of such a process, which 
seems to be attested at countless points in the New Testament 



itself, and by universal admission has produced an innumer- 
able host of apocryphal and extra-canonical stories. 

99. The current, in all these writings that we know aught 
of, sets unmistakably and undisputably towards humanisation. 
Nevertheless, the Johannines (and the same may be said 
with even stronger emphasis of the Ignatians) witness incon- 
testably the existence of such as denied the humanity, as 
resisted the humanisation. Either, then, this latter view of 
the matter originated near the time of the Johannines and 
Ignatians (say near but after 100 a.d.), or it was itself 
original, and the humanising view came forward con- 
spicuously about that time. Remember, the humanising 
tendency is a fact ; it is attested by all history, and in this 
particular case it is superfluously proved and incontestable ; 
whereas the opposite dehumanising tendency is entirely 
hypothetic, unwitnessed by any fact, and devised solely to 
account for the fact of the existence of those who denied the 
humanity. As such an hypothesis we must reject it, unless 
it he necessary ; it is shaved off by Occam's Razor. 

100. But it is not at all necessary ; nay, it is not only 
superfluous, but cumbrous and bewildering. Let us suppose 
for an instant that the divinity of the Jesus, and not the 
humanity, was the primitive doctrine ; then the observed 
humanisation follows naturally, almost inevitably, from 
fixed psychological laws ; the championship of John and 
Ignatius becomes so intelligible as to call for no explanation, 
and the heretical " antichrists " appear as nothing but 
familiar old fogies left behind on the primitive standpoint. 

loi. On the other hand, suppose that the conception of 
the Jesus as a man was the original ; then the course of 
development becomes oscillatory, and hard or impossible to 
understand. Following this supposed earliest conception we 
find that of Mark, in which the key-note of humanity is lost, 
drowned in the note of divinity. But this latter begins 
straightway to grow slightly flat, while the human sounds 
out louder and louder, till suddenly once more it is damped 
nigh to extinction among the Docetists, while ringing clearer 
and clearer among the orthodox. These undulations remain 
scarcely, if at all, intelligible, after infinite efforts to explain 
them. Strictly rectilinear development we may not in reason 


expect, but any imagined evolution from an original doctrine 
of the humanity of the Jesus seems highly unnatural and 


102. The interpretation of the Gospels, particularly 
Mark's, as symbolic exhibitions of the progress of the Jesus- 
cult enlightens many a dark point in the ordinary under- 
standing of those scriptures. For example, we are told 
(Mark vi, 5, 6) that in '' his own country " '' he could do no 
mighty work," and that " he marvelled because of their 
unbelief." Mark here implies what Matthew expresses — 
that he did not work many miracles there " because of their 
unbelief." Now, this seems passing strange, that his wonder- 
working should be conditioned by their belief or unbelief. 
Elsewhere we find his power easily transcending any such 
limitations. Surely the stilling of the tempest was not 
rendered less easy by their 'Mittle faith." The son of the 
widow, the daughter of Jairus, and finally Lazarus, long since 
committed to the tomb, did not have to believe in order to 
be revived. In fact, the notion that any power of physical 
healing or other thaumaturgy possessed by the Jesus was 
dependent on the faith of anyone seems quite unworthy of 
the Son of God and the New Testament, and fitter for Mrs. 
Mary Baker Eddy and the Science of Health, 

103. Nevertheless, not only here, but almost as ex- 
plicitly in other places in the Gospels (as in Mark ix, 23), 
this dependence of the power of the Jesus on the faith of 
the subject is affirmed, and even emphasised. Incompre- 
hensible as this must be so long as we think of the Jesus as 
an historic personage, it is not only comprehensible, but 
almost self-evident, as soon as we think of him as standing 
for his doctrine, his cult. Plainly the spiritually healing 
power of such teaching depends essentially, if not absolutely, 
upon the faith of the taught. 

104. Here, then, we see clearly vindicated the supreme 
position held by faith in the Christian system — not faith in 
a person^ to which, in spite of all the might of the deep- 


eddying ocean of oratory that has been poured round it for 
so many centuries, no adequate idea can ever attach, but 
faith in a Doctrine, in an Idea, the Idea of the One God, the 
Heart of the Universe, the unifying Principle of the Cosmos, 
conceived and worshipped not merely as King, Creator, 
Ruler, but also as the Healer, the Guardian, the Saviour of 
the World. It is this ethical, metaphysical, religious, philo- 
sophic, theosophical Idea that meets us in endlessly diverse 
forms throughout the earliest Christian literature, whether 
apostolic or post-apostolic, whether in the New Testament or 
in the Fathers, whether in Apocalypse or Apocrypha, whether 
in Evangelist or Epistolist or Apologist : an idea quite as 
conspicuous by its presence in all this literature as the 
human personality of the Jesus is conspicuous by its absence. 
It is this Idea that conquered the circummediterranean world 
for Christianity ; that, having almost perished, revived later 
in distorted and degenerate form, yet still found strength to 
subdue the Asian and African coast to Mohammedanism. 
Let no one marvel that an idea should work such wonders. 
What else but ideas have ever accomplished the really great 
things of history ? Hereby we need enkindle no strife with the 
hero-worshippers. Ideas must incorporate themselves in 

105. Perhaps no one would forgive the writer even of a 
slight sketch, should he pass over without any notice the 
Last Week in Jerusalem. Here such severe analysts as 
Brandt think they find the very ultimates, the irresoluble 
elements of the earliest and most veridical tradition. In 
truth, however, the conditions are not very peculiar ; no 
special difficulties of interpretation are present. It is a great 
idea, the idea of salvation through suffering, the suffering of 
a God, that has received most elaborate and, at points, even 
pathetic dramatisation. This was the very centre of the 
splendid historic canvas, and most naturally it has been 
treated with especial care and delicacy of detail. But the 
guidance of ideas has at no point been abandoned ; on the 
contrary, it has been everywhere followed with noteworthy 
conscientiousness. The vague general notion of a great 
vicarious sufferer seems almost as old as humanity itself; 
certainly it might have been suggested by aboriginal 


experiences, even should we not refer it ultimately to the 
awful phenomenon of an eclipse of a Sun- or Moon-God, 
which must have impressed deeply the devotees of any astral 
religion. But for the capital detail of the Crucifixion we 
should look much nearer home. The notion of the impale- 
ment of the Righteous found its classical and immortal 
expression in the second book of the Republic, in a context 
of matchless moral sublimity.^ Glaukon, putting Socrates 
on his mettle, draws the liveliest possible picture of the 
sufferings of the Just who is thought unjust : " He will be 
scourged, will be racked, will be bound, will have his eyes 
burned out, (and) at last having suffered every ill he will be 
crucified " (361 D). The last verb {avaaxLv^vX^vw) is commonly 
rendered by ** impale," and is rare; but it is the exact 
equivalent of avacxKoXoTrt^w, which again is exactly the same 
as ava(TTavp6(i) (as in Philo i, 237, 687), which appears in 
Heb. vi, 6 (where it has been falsely rendered crucify again), 
and is the regular Greek word for crucify, shortened also 
into (TTavpou), the New Testament term. The ava means up, 
and not again, 

106. How deeply this image of the Righteous crucified 
had stamped itself on the religious consciousness seems 
remarkably attested by the fact (to which M. Salomon 
Reinach has called attention) that in the Psalmist's descrip- 
tion of the sufferings of the Righteous (Israel) the LXX 
have rendered the Hebrew ka^aH by lopv^av : " they dug 
through (A. V. pierced) my hands and my feet." Now, it is 
true that the Hebrew is highly uncertain, but in any case we 
can hardly believe the writer meant dig or pierce, because 
the act is attributed to dogs (heathen), who might tear or 
rend or do other cruel things, but would scarcely pierce or 
dig through hands and feet. Whether or not, then, the 
LXX understood the Psalm (and particularly this v. 17) 
messianically, as do the moderns, their translation would 

^ If anyone would estimate the uplift in ethical theory during two thousand 
years, let him compare Plato's treatment with that of the greatest Anglican 
Church dignitary, Bishop Butler, Sermon xi, 21, in fine : "Let it be allowed, 
though virtue or moral rectitude does indeed consist in affection to and pursuit 
of what is right and good, as such ; yet, that when we sit down in a cool 
hour, we can neither justify to ourselves this or any other pursuit, till we are 
convinced that it will be for our happiness, or at least not contrary to it." 
Consider also the apologetic note suffixed by Gladstone. 


seem to indicate that they entertained the idea of a crucifixion 
as the climax of the passion of the Just. Such being the 
case, this form of execution of the Jesus was imposed upon 
any religious consciousness nourished on the Septuagint, as 
was the Evangelic. Hence followed with a certain necessity 
that He should be executed by the Romans, not stoned like 
Stephen by the people, and thence through natural combina- 
tions the story of his surrender by the Jews to the Romans, 
which afterwards became the account of how Judas delivered 
him up to the Jews and they to the Romans. But the 
Passion and the Pillars of Schmiedel must be reserved for 
another discussion. Only be it remarked here as elsewhere 
(Preface) that the apparently earliest Gospel-source Q, the 
** Sayings," as now recognised by Harnack, stops short of 
the Judaean ministry, which thus appears to have been an 
afterthought forming no part of the most primitive Gospel. 

107. In conclusion, it should be repeated (as too liable to 
be forgotten) that in showing the Jesus of Proto-christianity 
to have been a God, and not a man, one by no means 
depreciates the role or the importance of personality in affairs 
human, particularly in the genesis of Christianity. The 
early propagandists were great men, were very great men ; 
they conceived noble and beautiful and attractive ideas, which 
they defended with curious learning and logic, and recom- 
mended with captivating rhetoric and persuasive oratory and 
consuming zeal. '* The Apostle " (Paul) and Apollos and 
Peter and John and Stephen and Philip, not to mention 
Barnabas and the great unknown symbolist whom we call 
Mark, and Autor ad Hebrceos^ and the learned and eloquent 
James, with other Epistolists and Evangelists, were striking, 
powerful, and imposing personalities ; they were mighty 
fishers, but fishers of men. The first, indeed, looms up 
vague and vast as the bulk of " Teneriffe or Atlas unremoved ; 
His stature reached the sky, and on his crest " he bore flaming 
the principal mottoes that have formed thus far the main 
dogmatic content of Christianity, both militant and triumphant. 
No wonder that Wrede and others have thought him, rather 
than the Jesus, the founder of our religion. If by the Jesus 
he meant only the magnified man of modern criticism, the 
comparison is inevitable, and the judgment of Wrede does 


not seem strange nor unenlightened. But the Jesus the God 
is, of course, quite incomparable with Paul the Apostle. 

io8. A modern sentimentalist will insist that grand 
ideas can neither save nor convert men, whose hearts 
must be touched by the story of the Cross, and the tender 
gentleness and loving-kindness of the meek and lowly Jesus ; 
and the missionary confidently hopes to be able to render 
these features so attractive as to draw all people, Asiatic and 
African, into the Church, whence they will issue to the final 
conversion of the unfeeling European and American — the 
Mongolian and the Hottentot will in the end convert us to 
our own religion ! 

109. Such expectants seem to forget or ignore many 
significant truths — as that reason is a topmost flower on the 
tree of humanity ; that history presents frequent examples of 
suffering and devotion and self-sacrifice perfectly in line with 
the New Testament narrative ; that the earliest depiction of 
the Jesus is singularly wanting in the very features that the 
sentimentalist would stress, and instead throws all emphasis 
on the sterner traits of infinite power and knowledge ; that 
the tenderly human traits belong to the later forms of the 
Gospel, and are sometimes even interpolations, as in the case 
of the famous prayer on the Cross : " Father, forgive them, for 
they know not what they do " (Luke xxiii, 34 — of course, it is 
not less noble and sublime for being late " Western " than if 
it were early Eastern). They seem also to overlook such 
characteristic touches as are found in Matthew x, 14, 15, 34, 
35; xi, 20-24; xviii, 17 and xxiii, passim^ not to mention 
Luke xvi, 1-9 ; xviii, 1-6, especially in comparison with 
Matthew vi, 7. 

no. Such passages are sore puzzles to the expositor, who 
finds it almost impossible to treat them with perfect fairness ; 
but they do not bewilder him who once perceives that it 
was not the purpose of any evangelist to depict a character 
at all) much less a perfect character, but to describe sym- 
bolically various aspects of the progress of the Jesus-cult, and 
to express under guise of parable various details of the *' new 
doctrine." The Synoptists were as little concerned to portray 
a perfect man as were the prophets or the authors of the 
Pentateuch in their sketches of Jehovah. 


111. But there is here still another and far more important 
lapse of memory ; for such expectants forget that the primitive 
preaching was addressed to a highly cultivated hut polytheistic \ 
consciousness. Here is the nerve of the whole matter. The 
message of earliest Christianity was irresistibly strong and / 
compelling, because it proclaimed monotheism to a con- 
sciousness that had lost faith in its own theory and worship 
of polytheism, because it proclaimed '^ God-worship^^ ('*the- 
oseby "), the service of one and only one God, always and 
everywhere the same, to minds and hearts that were already 
on the point of revolt against the ubiquitous but many- 
coloured idolatry. As the "everlasting Gospel," proclaimed 
with mighty angelic voice, " Worship Him that made 
heaven and earth and sea" {Rev. xiv, 6, 7), this message 
reverberated from shore to shore louder than Sinai's thunder 
and roused to life a waiting world already tossing and 
restless in slumber ; no other conceivable message at that 
time and place could have wrought such a marvel ; the 
preaching of the Jesus of modern criticism, of a wise and 
amiable Jewish rabbi, as the God and Saviour of an idolatrous 
world, would have been justly derided as puerile and 

112. Lastly, does someone find it hard to breathe in such 
a rarefied atmosphere of symbolism, and hard to believe that 
the first Scripturists would voluntarily choose to express 
themselves in such fashion ? Let such an one consider that 
for this reason or for that the Maschal (symbol, simile, 
parable) was then unquestionably a favourite in the highest 
degree,^ that a large portion of the Gospels consists of such 
avowed metaphors^ and that it is expressly said by Mark : 
** Without a parable spake He not unto them." How deeply 
the mind of the Scripturist was tinged with this habit of 
symbolism may be inferred from the story of Sarah and 
Hagar and Ishmael, which seems to us to be as plainly, j^ 
simply, and unequivocally historical as anything in literature. H 
Yet says the apostle : " Which things are allegorical " /( 
(Gal. iv, 24). If the principal author of the New Testament 
interpreted such an unvarnished biographical detail as an 

^ See the footnote to sec. 58, p. 115. 



elaborate allegory, are we wrong in still further widening 
the circle of symbolical interpretation in the Gospels, where, 
in any case, it must admittedly be drawn with a radius so 
exceptionally large? 


Supplementary to Article 8j, 

113. This passage (i Cor. xi, 23 ff,) figures so impor- 
tantly in the writings of the critics, they appeal to it so 
confidently as the "ground-reaching pillar of the lofty roof" 
of their whole theory of Proto-christianity as emanating from 
the man Jesus, that it may be well once for all to examine it 
minutely. In order to do this, we must unite in one view the 
four accounts found in our New Testament, which accordingly 
are here presented in parallel columns, and the Synoptics in 
the oldest (Syriac) form, as translated by Burkitt (Ev, Da-M., 
I., 231, 157, 397):— 

Mark xiv, 22-25. — And while they 
were eating bread he blessed, and 
brake and gave to his disciples, 
and said to them : " Take, this is 
my body." And he took a cup and 
blessed, and gave to them and they 
drank from it. And he said to 
them : " This is my blood of the 
new covenant, that for many is 
shed. Amen, I say to you that 
no more shall I drink of the off- 
spring of the vine, until that day 
in which I shall drink it with you 
newly in the kingdom of God." 

Luke xxii, 17-20. — And he took 
bread and gave thanks over it and 
brake and gave to them and said : 
" This is my body that is for you ; 
so be doing for my memory." And 
he took a cup and gave thanks 
over it and said : " Take this ; 
divide it among you. I say to 
you that from now I shall not 

Matt, xxvi, 26-29. — And while 
they were eating Jesus took 
bread and blessed God over it, 
and brake and gave to his disci- 
ples, and saith : " Take, eat this is 
my body." And he took a cup and 
gave thanks over it, and gave to 
them and said : " Take, drink of it 
all of you ; this is my blood, the 
new covenant, that is shed for many 
to forgiveness of sins. For I say to 
you that I shall not drink from now 
of the fruit_of the vine, until the day 
that I shall drink it with you new 
in the kingdom of my Father." 

I Cor. XI, 23-27. — For I received 
of the Lord that which also I 
delivered unto you, how that the 
Lord Jesus in the night in which 
he was betrayed took bread ; and 
when he had given thanks, he 
brake it, and said, This is my 
body, which is for you ; this do 
in remembrance of me. In like 


drink of this producejQf_the vine manner also the cup, after supper, 
until the kingdom of God come." saying, This cup is the new 

covenant in my blood : this do, as 
oft as ye drink it, in remembrance 
of me. For as often as ye eat this 
bread, and drink the cup, ye pro- 
claim the Lord's death till he come. 

114. No critical intelligence is needed to perceive that 
Mark and Matthew are here practically identical, the latter 
adding- only the one important phrase '*to forgiveness of 
sins." Plainly, also, the other pair are very closely, though 
not quite so closely, related. The main, the essential, 
difference between the two couples is that the second 
declares the establishment of this Supper as a permanent 
institution among the disciples (" do this in memory of me "), 
whereas nothing of the kind is hinted in the first. Now this 
is a highly important addition. If Mark and Matthew had 
known of any such institution, at this critical juncture, of 
the most important sacrament of the Church, it is quite 
unbelievable that they would have passed it by in silence. 
Moreover, Luke is in general admittedly later than Mark. 
It will perhaps, then, not be denied that this vital moment 
(of the institution of this permanent sacrament) is a Lucan 
accretion to the older account. 

115. In fact, it seems very hard, on reading Mark and 
Luke consecutively, not to recognise that Mark is more 
primitive, that in Luke the thought has visibly developed 
and expanded while the text has suffered dislocation or 
mutilation. Now pass to Corinthians. Is it possible not to 
perceive a still further growth? The formula of institution 
is here repeated, and the second time with especial emphasis : 
**This do as oft as ye drink, unto my memory."^ Also the 
author still further stresses this idea by his own pronounce- 
ment : ** As oft therefore as ye eat this bread and drink the 
cup, proclaim ye the death of the Lord, till he come." Here, 
again, the thought is measurably advanced. Surely no one 

* This turn of expression, with various others, as "table of the Lord," 
"communicants of the altar," " communicants with demons," was not original 
with " the Apostle," but was known to the terminology of the cult-unions long 
before our era. See Heitmueller, Taufe und Ahendmahl im Urchristentum^ 
p. 71 (1911). 


can marvel at" the gradual enlargement of dogmatic content, 
no one familiar in the least with the history of dogmas. But 
how could anyone understand the shrinkage of content from 
Corinthians through Luke and Matthew down finally to 
Mark ? If Corinthians gives the original form and sense of 
the incident, then the same must have been known to Mark 
and Matthew, as representing the earliest traditions. How, 
then, shall we explain their fore-shortening, their omission 
of the very pith and nerve of the whole matter? Plainly 
nothing but the most compulsive proof could justify us in 
dislodging Mark-Matthew from their natural precedence 
and yielding the priority to Luke-Corinthians. Have 
we any such compulsive proof? Absolutely none what- 
ever, •• 

ii6. What? Is not Corinthians much earlier than 
Mark? We need not raise here the general Pauline 
question. That is another matter. For the purposes of this 
argument (and only for such purposes) we might fully grant 
that this epistle as a whole proceeded from Paul, and was 
earlier than Luke or even Mark. Such a concession would 
not for a moment imply that this particular passage was 
earlier than any Synoptic, or that it proceeded from Paul the 
Apostle. For it is a notorious fact that the original New 
Testament Scriptures have in general been subject to 
revision, over-working, and interpolation. Why, then, 
should I Cor. be exempt? Why should it form an exception 
to the general rule ? Even if there were no visible traces of 
insertion, no internal grounds of suspicion, nevertheless, 
since the passage presents obviously a comparatively late 
stage of dogmatic evolution, we should be perfectly justified 
in regarding it as a late accession to the text. However, 
there are very cogent internal reasons for holding the verses 
to be a later incorporation into an elder text, reasons wholly 
independent of the relation'borne to the Synoptics. 

117. For, firstly, these verses occur in a region of inter- 
polation. This whole eleventh chapter, from verse 2, 
is a standing puzzle. The powerful exegesis of Carl 
Holsten, after long and painful wrestling, is compelled to 
admit that verses 5b, 6, 10, 13, 14, 15, are interpolations, 
and must be ** expunged," if we are to understand the 


Apostle. A still closer study seems to show that even 
more extensive expunctions are necessary. But if these 
five verses must be elided, what sure patron protects verses 
23-25 ? 

118. Moreover, it is hard not to believe that a late con- 
sciousness is speaking in verse 2. Paul can scarcely have 
reached Corinth before a.d. 55 ; he remained there *' many 
days'* over a ''year and a half" (Acts xviii, 11, 18), which 
would bring his departure from Ephesus nearly to 57. About 
a year or less thereafter, in 58, he is supposed to have 
written i Cor. Yet in this verse he praises " you that ye 
hold fast the traditions^ even as I delivered them unto you." 
Certainly such language sounds very strange addressed to a 
congregation hardly two years old. And what traditions? 
Can we really think of Paul's own " insight " or " a reve- 
lation vouchsafed to him " as meant by such "traditions"? 
Consider also the astonishing disorders into which the con- 
gregation had fallen in so short a time. Consider the fact 
that there had been many deaths ("many sleep," xi, 30), 
which of itself seems to imply necessarily a considerable 
lapse of time, much more than two years. In fact, the whole 
atmosphere of the chapter seems charged with suggestions 
of a long interval, and not a mere twelve- or twenty-month 
since the founding of the church and the departure of the 

119. More than this, however. It is plainly not the 
Lord's Supper proper, but the common Love-feast, the 
Agape (very like our picnic), that is contemplated in verses 
17-22, 33, 34. Contending factions met; it was ^^ not 
possible to eat the Lord's supper''' \ some hungered, some 
were drunken ; each took his own meal in advance. " So, 
my Brothers, when ye come together wait for one another " 
(33)* Plainly it is not our sacramental Eucharist, but rather 
the Agape, that is here in mind. The two were closely 
related, and are often hard to distinguish. But it is not 
difficult to perceive that there is a most notable confusion 
of thought. At verse 23 the key of the composition changes ; 
it is not now the Agape, but the Eucharist. 

120. We hold, then, with confidence that all the indicia 
point to the comparatively late origin of these famous verses 



xi, 23-26 (as they now stand). ^ Before they can be used in 
evidence of the historicity of the event in question, as 
witnessed by Paul, there must be given some surety that 
they are not interpolated, that Paul actually did write them 
as we now read them. No such surety has ever been given — 
nay, none such has ever been seriously attempted. On the 
contrary, all the signs are against the Paulinity and against 
the antiquity of the whole passage in question. 

121. We may go even still further. It is well known 
that the Mithraic Sacrament very closely resembled the 
Christian, so closely that Justin charges imitation upon the 
wicked demons, who seem capable de tout: ''Which, indeed, 
also in the mysteries of Mithra the wicked demons imitating, 
taught to be done ; for that bread and a cup of water are 
placed in the mystic rites of him that is being initiated, with 
certain incantations, either you know or you can learn " 
{Ap. i. 66c). Tertullian bears similar witness {De pr, haer,, 
c. 40). No one perhaps will agree with the Christian 
worthies in their explanation of the resemblance. In both 
cases the Sacrament is the expression of a wide-rooted 
religious idea. 

122. Add to this that the venerable and trustworthy 
Didache^ while discussing the Eucharist at great length 
(ix, X, xiv, i), knows nothing whatever of the Gospel 
account, nothing whatever of body and blood, nothing what- 
ever of the Gospel ideas. So important is this witness that 
it should be quoted in full : — 

But concerning the Eucharist thus bless [eucharise]. First, con- 
cerning the cup : We bless thee, our Father, for the holy vine of 
David, thy child [servant], which thou madest known to us through 
Jesus thy child : to thee the glory unto the aeons. Then concerning 
the morsel "" : We bless thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge 

* In his Taufe und Abendmahl itn Urchristentum (64-69) Heitmueller finds 
in Paul at least " three groups of conceptions " concerning the Eucharist : 
(a) Communion with Christ, i Cor. x, 16; {b) Communion with one another, 
1 Cor. X, 17 ; (c) Commemoration of Christ's death, i Cor. xi, 23 ff. Of these 
he recognises (a) and {b) as the earlier, "the fundamental view"; (c) as a 
"more theologising interpretation," in which "reflection begins gently" 
concerning the " act of the cult." But all this would be quite impossible if 
I Cor. xi, 22) ff. were the eldest account and conception of the "symbol and 
sacrament." Heitmueller's view, however cautiously expressed, cannot fail 
to confirm strongly our present contention. 

^ KXafffxaTos. 


[Gnosis] which thou madest known to us through Jesus Christ thy 
child — to thee the glory unto the aeons. As was this morsel scattered 
upon the mountains and was assembled [as] one, so be assembled 
thy Church from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom ; because 
thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ unto the aeons. 
But let no one eat nor drink of your eucharist, but those baptised 
into name of the Lord ; for concerning this hath spoken the Lord : 
Give not the holy to the dogs. And after being filled thus bless : 
We bless thee, Father holy, for thy holy Spirit, whereby thou tentedst 
down in our hearts ; and for the Gnosis, and faith and immortality, 
which thou madest known to us through Jesus thy child — to thee 
the glory unto the aeons. Thou Master Almighty createdst the 
universe because of thy name ; both nurture and drink thou gavest 
the men for enjoyment, that we might bless thee ; but unto us thou 
vouchsafedst spiritual nurture and driife and life everlasting through 
thy child. Before all we bless thee that mighty art thou : [to thee] 
the glory unto the aeons. Remember, Lord, thy Church, to save it 
from all evil, and perfect it in thy love, etc. 

In the presence of this extremely ancient Teaching concerning 
the Eucharist, how is it possible for anyone to maintain that 
the Gospel ^tory is historical and the Corinthian version 
/( primitive? (Are they not manifestly elaborate and deep- 
'' I thoughted symbolisms ?^ Do they not bear the most unim- 
peachable testimony directly against the cause for which 
they are called into court ? 

123. When now we turn to i Cor. x, 14-22, we hear a 
more primitive note quite in accord with the " Teaching " 
just quoted. ** Wherefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." 
Surely th?s sounds Proto-christian. ** The cup of blessing 
which we bless, is it not communion of the blood of the 
Christ ? The bread that we break, is it not communion of the 
body of the Christ? Because one bread, one body, we the 
many are, for we all partake of the one bread." In the 
Teaching the morsel is the symbol of the unity of the 
brotherhood, its particles having been scattered in divers 
grains upon the mountains, but now all gathered into one 
loaf. With "the Apostle" the idea of unity is the same; 
but it inheres not in the loaf, but in the participation of 
all in the same loaf. Prefer which you will. And what is 
this "body of the Christ"? The notion pervades the New- 
Testament, but the passages most directly in point are 
these : — 


I Cor. xii, 27 : '* But ye are Christ's body, and severally 
members thereof." 

Eph. i, 23 : " And gave him to be head over all things to 
the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth 
the All in all." 

Eph. iv, 12 : ** Unto edification of the body of the Christ " 
(the Church). 

Eph. V, 30 : '* Because we are members of his body." 

Eph. V, 23 : " Himself Saviour of the body " (the 

Col. i, 19 : " And he is the head of the body, the Church." 

Col. ii, 17 : " Which is shadow of the things to come, but 
the body is the Christ's." 

Col. ii, 19 : " Nor holding fast the Head, from whom all 
the body increases (with) the increase of God." 

124. Here the conception of the Church (or congregation) 
as the body of Christ is quite too clear for argument. The 
communion of the loaf symbolised in one way or another 
the organic unity of the many members. As there was one 
body, so also there was one spirit (" One body and one 
spirit," Eph. iv, 4) ; and of this the chosen and fitting 
symbol was wine, which inevitably suggested blood, even as 
it is written : **Only flesh with its soul [nephesh], its blood, 
shall ye not eat" (Gen. ix, 4; cf. Lev. xvii, 11, 14; Deut. 
xii, 23). That such was the original idea there seems to be 
not the shadow of a doubt. How easily it might give rise to 
a story such as we find in Mark, and how naturally this 
might develop into the Lucan and Corinthian accounts, and 
thence into the tremendous medieval dogma, must be clear 
to every student of history and psychology. On the other 
hand, it is quite incredible that anyone knowing or having 
been taught the awful origin and import of the Last Supper, 
as given in i Cor. xi, 23-26, or even in Mark, should ever 
speak of it in the terms used in i Cor. x, 16, 17, and in the 
** Teaching." Herewith, then, the guns of this boasted 
battery are not only captured ; they are turned destructively 
upon the critics that trained them. The simple primitive 
and long-cherished conception of the Eucharist not only does 
not prove the historicity of the Last Supper, but it does prove 
decisively the non-historicity and purely symbolic content of 


the incident in question. Since, as Heitmueller has just 
declared, the passage (i Cor. xi, 22 ^.) is a "theologising 
interpretation" (of the "fundamental conception " in i Cor. 
X, 16, 17), then assuredly it is not an historical narra- 

125. It remains to consider the famous passage in i Cor. 
XV, i-ii. Into the grammatical and textual difficulties that 
herein so abound we need not enter ; certain general reflec- 
tions may suffice. First, then, it seems very strange that 
such a chapter should be written to a congregation very 
recently founded by the writer, from which he had been 
absent about a year or two, to which he was expecting soon 
to return. That such controversies should have sprung up 
almost instantly upon his departure, that they should have 
been reported to Paul, that he should try to settle them at a 
distance by such argumentation, seems queerer and queerer 
the more one ponders it. Moreover, the tone of the opening 
verses is not at all what we should expect under the circum- 
stances : " Now, I make known to you, brethren, the gospel 
which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein 
also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, with what word I 
preached it unto you, if ye hold it fast, except ye believed in 
vain." Surely this extreme formality is most unnatural. 
Would Paul ** make known " to them by letter the gospel he 
had been preaching to them nearly two years ? Would he 
have reserved such an all-important matter for the next to 
the last heading in his letter? Would he have failed to hint 
at it in the beginning and body of his epistle? Would he 
have given precedence to the coiffures of the Corinthian 
women? Would he have described his preaching the gospel 
as handing down a tradition he had himself received — he 
that preached from the inner light of revelation, and conferred 
not with flesh and blood ? *' For I delivered unto you first of 
all that which also I received, how that Christ died for our 
sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried," 
etc. We look in vain through Acts for any such preaching 
of any apostle, and quite as vainly for any such attitude of 
Paul handing down a tradition received from others. It 
seems hard to blink the fact that the Epistolist is rather far 
down the stream of tradition, that he is addressing a long- 


established Christian community, and that he makes little 
pretence to first-hand authority. 

126. Such scruples are nowise allayed by minuter inspec- 
tion of this ** Gospel," which consists essentially of a chrono- 
logical grouping of appearances of the Risen Christ. Mark 
well that it is Christ or the Christ throughout, thirteen times, 
only in verse 31 is it '' Christ Jesus our Lord," and in verse 57 
"our Lord Jesus Christ," never Jesus. This seems far away 
from the "Jesus and Anastasis " which he had just preached 
on Mars' Hill and from the spirit of the proclamation in Acts. 
It seems to represent a Judaic standpoint distant from any 
found in the Gospels, and apparently measurably later. 
Observe also the careful ordering of the appearances. Can 
we ascribe the like to Paul ? Does it not represent a stage 
of historisation (or tradition, if you will) distinctly later than 
the Synoptic, reminding us of the Fourth Gospel (xxi, 14), 
and the Marcan appendix (xvi, 9, 12, 14)? Note, further, 
that the phrase The Ektroma^ used as needing no explana- 
tion, implies a well-developed Gnostic consciousness, and on 
this point see infra, 

127. Looking at the whole body of indicia, we cannot 
find one that points to Pauline or to early authorship. We 
find many that point away from both. But even supposing 
that all these tokens, by which we are here dealing with an 
appendix to Corinthians, were misleading, and that the 
paragraph really proceeded from the Apostle, what of it? 
Would it firmly establish the Gospel record as history? 
Would it even show clearly that the Epistolist was himself 
writing history? By no means! For be it noted that the 
Death was "according to the Scriptures," that the Resurrec- 
tion also was "according to the Scriptures." The reader 
need not be taught that this phrase, equivalent to "that it 
might be fulfilled," characterises the Justinian theory of 
history also expressed in another appendix, Rom. xv, 3, 4, 
according to which the Old Testament was a perfect mirror 
of Christian story, on looking into which one might discover 
what this story was by seeing what it must be, with little 
study of contemporaneous testimony. If death and resur- 
rection had been found to be "according to the Scriptures," 
then such a theorist would without hesitation affirm them, not 


indeed as exactly matters of history, but at least as articles 
of faith, as true in some super-historical sense. There are 
scores of such historisations in the Gospels, as critics almost 
unanimously recognise. In order to bring about such a 
postulated fulfilment of Scripture, Matthew does not shrink 
from seating the Jesus at the entry to Jerusalem upon the 
ass and her colt (xxi, 5, 7). This impossibility has worried 
the Fathers and critics far more than it did Matthew, who 
was intent solely upon his idea, and would let the facts take 
care of themselves.' 

When these things are said to have happened " according 
to the Scriptures," the reader is clearly informed that they 
happened in the aforesaid Justinian sense ; the statement is 
a certificate of their dogmatic necessity, not of their historic 

128. But what of the appearances, six in number, upon 
which the main stress is laid ? Does anyone competent to 
judge in such matters really find herein any testimony to 
the humanity of the Jesus ? It seems hard to believe. What 
is meant by ** appeared" {^(pOrj)? In the case of Paul we 
have some evidence. Three times in Acts such an appear- 
ance is described (ix, 3-7; xxii, 6-9; xxvi, 12-15). At 
midday a light falls upon him, it is not hinted that he saw 
anyone ; he hears a voice unheard by his companions (xxii, 9) 
calling him to preach to the Gentiles, to turn them "from 
the power of Satan unto God " (t.e.y from polytheism to mono- 
theism). On its face the whole account seems to point to a 
purely psychical experience : the light is the light of the 
truth, brighter than the sun at noon ; the voice is that ot 
conviction and resolution, heard only in the depths of the 
individual soul. This view of the matter is fully confirmed 
by various passages in the Paulines, as by Galatians i, 16, 17 : 
" But when it pleased God to reveal his Son in me, that I 

^ Zahn and Blass meet the difficulty boldly; the former reads **him" 
{avT6v) instead of the first **them" {avrdv), and applies it to the colt, while 
referring- the second "them" [avrCov) to the garments; the latter does like- 
wise, except that he more heroically strikes out the second "them " {avrCov) — 
both missing- the mind of Matthew, who was merely bent on fulfilling- literally 

the prophecy : "Thy King cometh riding upon an ass and upon a colt, 

foal of a yokeling," and did not observe that the and (T) in Hebrew meant 
yea (" Sitting upon an ass, yea upon a colt, foal of she-asses "). Zech. ix. 9. 


might preach him among the Gentiles " If we render 

the Greek by "through me" instead of "in me," the case 
remains as strong. The revelation is still a psychic process 
brought about by psychic means. Similar is 2 Cor. iv, 6 : 
" Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, 
who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge 
(Gnosis) of the glory of God in person of Christ." Not 
pausing on the heavily freighted phraseology, we see so 
much clearly, that the light was spiritual — indeed, intellectual 

129. If such then was the "appearance" to Paul, what 
right have we to suppose that it was aught else to Peter and 
to the rest? None whatever. We must assume that the 
appearances were alike, until reason is shown for thinking 
them different. No such reason is even to be sought outside 
the Gospels, and it is precisely because no reason for 
supposing any other than psychic revelation is to be found 
in the Gospels that appeal has been made to Corinthians. 
And here we now find this appeal decidedly rejected, and 
the case referred back to the Gospels ! The fact is that the 
so-called Pauline testimony strongly confirms the symbolic 
interpretation of the Gospel. The appearance or revelation 
of the Jesus or Christ or the Son of God is everywhere the 
same, and means primarily the intellectual enlightenment 
that attends conversion to the Jesus-Cult, to Monotheism, to 
the worship of the One God " in person of Christ," and the 
voice is the angel voice of right reason, proclaiming the 
everlasting Gospel, " fear God and give Him glory " (Rev. 
xiv, 7). As Epicharmus nobly sang, " Reason sees and 
reason hears: All things else are deaf and blind." We 
affirm, then, confidently, that the so-called Pauline testimony 
at every point runs directly against the current dogma of the 
humanity of the Jesus. 

Herewith all the important Pauline " proofs " have been 
considered. Various others, mainly detached phrases, are 
indeed sometimes cited, though not worth citing. Careful 
discussion of all, at request of a correspondent in Europe, 
shows clearly they have no significance either singly or 
collectively ; to resort to them is to abandon the battle. 
When the field-forces are routed, the navy sunk, the forts 


dismantled, the capital surrendered^^ a few desperate fighters 
may escape to the mountains, and there in dark caverns and 
inaccessible retreats maintain a tedious guerrilla contest. 
Such patriotic courage never to submit or yield may indeed 
be magnificent and admirable — but is it war? 


Supplementary to Article 6^. • ^ 

130. The central problem in Gnostic theory (the doctrine 
of the Gnosis, the knowledge of the One Supreme God) was 
the venerable cosmologic-theologic one of the relation of the 
Creator to the Creature, of God to the Universe. Following 
in the wake of the old Academy, the Gnostics sought to fill in 
the whole sphere of possible being between the opposite poles 
of pure Deity or Noumenon (Bythos) and Phenomenon 
(matter) with a succession of conjugate emanations, projec- 
tions, or ceons varying from six to thirty in number. Of 
these there was one set of twelve (projected by Anthropos 
and Ecclesia or Logos and Zoe), of which the last pair were 
Theletos and Sophia. Of these two the latter (said they) 
became possessed of an overmastering desire to bring forth 
or project an agon independently of her conjugate, in emula- 
tion of the primal inconjugate activity of the central Godhead 
(Bythos). This passion (Enthymesis) of this twelfth aeon 
resulted disastrously ; the projection or emanation proceeding 
from her was indeed Substance, but was shapeless and 
unordered, as lacking the masculine form-giving virtue,^ 
and was technically and fitly called The Ektroma.^ The 
Ektroma was really nothing but the formless stuff (Hyle) of 
Aristotle, the Tohu-va-Bohu of Genesis i, 2, as is shown by 
the citation in Hippolytus : '* And this is, he (the Gnostic) 
says, what Moses speaks, the earth was invisible and 

131. Inasmuch as all the preceding aeons were not only 

* As apparently by Heitmueller in the passage just quoted. 
' oifflav Afiopipov, o'iav (pvaiv elxe di^Xeiav reKeiv, Iren., I, i, 3. 
3 wa-irep ^/crpw/ia, Iren.^ I, i, 7 ; eiri t^j yeyevqiiivi^ vir auTiys eKxpfifiari, oUtcj yap 
KaXovffiv, Hip., J^ejlf vi, 31. 


substantial, but were heavenly forms, it was perfectly natural 
for the Gnostic to call this formless emanation of Sophia 
The Ektroma (abortivum). Plainly the notion is derived 
from, or at least correlated with, the passage in Proverbs 
(viii, 12^.), where Hokhmah (Wisdom) is so highly extolled 
as having assisted the Creator at the founding of the heavens 
and the earth. This is doubly evident from the other name, 
Achamoth, which they gave to Sophia (not to Enthymesis, as 
Tertullian thought), which is manifestly only a thin disguise 
of the Hebrew name Hokhmah, or the Syriac Hekhmetha, 
though Tertullian declares it to be ** uninterpretable " (Adv. 
VaL, xiv). Thus the Ektroma appears as the last and least 
of the aeons sent forth, as, in fact, not worthy to be called an 
ason, being defective in its generation.^ In view of this 
Gnostic speculation, and only in view of it, the self- 
depreciatory language of the Apostle now becomes perfectly 
clear and remarkably apposite. 

132. Of course, the reply of the critics will be, and must 
be, that the relation is just the inverse, that the Gnostics 
took the notion of the Ektroma from this passage in 
Corinthians. But such a contention it is impossible to 
maintain. That such an obscure and far-fetched phrase 
should have given birth to the highly organised and 
elaborate Gnostic doctrine of aeons or emanations would 
be as marvellous as any of the inconceivabilities of that 
doctrine itself; whereas the comparison in Corinthians 
appears natural and almost inevitable when, and only when, 
the whole Gnostic theory is presupposed. I say the whole 
theory, not, indeed, in its details (which varied greatly from 
thinker to thinker), but in its spirit and general outline. The 
notion of the stuff of the physical or phenomenal world as an 
Ektroma, an imperfect projection of a spiritual nature, is 
a highly abstract cosmologic - metaphysical imagination, 
evidently the result of prolonged and profound philosophic 
meditation. It reminds us forcibly of the modern doctrine 

* This queer conceit, of the imperfect aeon, was really a thoroughly honest 
attempt to clear up the darkest of mysteries, the origin of evil, by interpreting 
this evil as a pure negation. This form of explanation has exerted a strong 
fascination over the profoundest intellects, and has been repeatedly revived in 
later times, as by Spinoza. We may smile at the bizarre inadequacy of the 
Gnostic solution ; but where the ancient failed, what modern has succeeded? 


that one's physical world is one's own ideas, the spatial 
construct of one's psychic experience. Still more, it is a 
part and parcel of the general theory of successive emissions 
or reflections of the primal essence, each (pair) a dimmed and 
reduced image of the preceding ; and this scheme of inter- 
polation goes back at least to the stern and stainless 
Xenocrates (396-314 B.C.). 

133. Perhaps an objector may urge that the asons (or 
emanations) were figments of the Valentinian fancy, and that 
Valentinus belonged to the second century. It is answered 
that only the finer elaborations may properly be ascribed to 
Valentinus ; the bolder conceptions and broader outlines 
antedate him by generations, if not by centuries. Even in 
the tradition and polemic of the Fathers (who were eager to 
bring down Gnosticism to the very latest date possible, to 
represent it as the most modern innovation, and their own 
orthodoxy as the long-uncorrupted ancient truth) the origins 
of Valentinianism are traced back to Simon Magus, the elder 
contemporary of Peter (Acts viii, 9, 11 — note the ** before- 
time" and ''long time "). Hippolytus {Ref,^ vi, 12, 18) tells 
us that Simon already had his ceons and his emanations in 
pairs, at least three such, some of whom — e.g.^ Sige (Silence) 
and Nus (Reason) — agreeing in name, position, and import- 
ance with the latest Valentinian characters ; Enthymesis, 
also, the passion of Sophia, whence came the Ektroma, is 
one of the Simonian aeons, paired with Logismos (Ratiocina- 
tion). Plainly, then, the asonian system was not the origina- 
tion, but at most merely the elaboration, of Valentinus ; and 
of this system Sophia and her Ektroma must have formed a 
very ancient part ; for the notion of the first and of her 
creative zeal is given clearly in Proverbs (viii, 12 ff,)^ and the 
second lies at the threshold of Scripture (Gen. i, 2), in the 
** Earth without form, and void," which was the first sensible 
or phenomenal issue of the supersensible cosmogonic energy. 

134. Does some one remind us that Irenaeus (I, i, 16), 
followed by Epiphanius, represents the heretic as actually 
citing the, Corinthian text (i Cor. xv, 8) in support of his 
own heresy, though wrongly applying it, and infer thence 
that the heretical doctrine was derived from the text? We 
answer that such an inference is by no means legitimate. 


The Gnostic might, indeed, have used the passage precisely 
as we have used it, to prove the antiquity of the notion of the 
Ektroma — a proof that both Irenasus and TertuUian would 
have found it very hard to rebut, had they ever attempted ; 
and some late Valentinian may have even used the text as 
the Fathers affirm, though little trust can be put in the 
accuracy of their affirmations ; but all this does not even begin 
to imply that the Corinthian verse preceded the original 
Gnostic conception. 

135. Lastly, it is plain as day that the Apostle speaks of 
** the Ektroma " as something requiring no explanation^ and 
hence familiar to his readers. It is certain, then, that his 
language reveals a Gnostic consciousness addressing a con- 
sciousness that is Gnostic. This conclusion may be heavy- 
laden with consequences, but it is none the less unavoidable. 

It is gratifying to find the foregoing view of the priority 
of Gnosticism to Paulinism, already set forth in Dervorchrist- 
liche Jesus, and even earlier in my article on New Testament 
criticism in The Americana^ explicitly affirmed by Reitzen- 
stein in his recent book, Die Hellenistischen Mysterien- 
religionen : " So out of this view even before Paul there 
arose the pair of concepts, * pneumatic ' and * psychic '; that 
Gnosticism in its fundamental notions antedates the Apostle 
is also lexically demonstrated." 


136. A great lawyer, in this case as good a judge as a 
great critic, writes me that his main difficulty in accepting 
the new theory lies in the extremely vivid portraiture in the 
Gospels of a highly attractive personality. This portrait 
seems to him to have been drawn from life, and impossibly 
the product of a religious philosophising fancy. Other dis- 
tinguished thinkers have written me in similar strain, and 
therewith seem to have laid bare the very heart of the matter 
as it lies in the minds of many highly intelligent laymen. 

Von Soden also insists that the Gospel image is quite too 
fresh, original, and uninventible to be intelligible otherwise 
than as taken directly and photographically from life. 


Inasmuch as this contention is endlessly repeated in the 
liberal apologies of to-day, it would not be fair to the reader 
to pass it by without careful consideration. 

137. An obvious and sufficient answer would seem to be that 
if any Evangelist really aimed to depict a thoroughly noble 
and beautiful personality — perfect, indeed, according to the 
Evangelist's standard — there seems to be no reason why he 
might not have done so ; it would be merely a question of 
literary skill, and there is no ground for setting any narrow 
limits to the abilities of the Evangelist. If some one urges, 
however, that there were three, and even four, such artists, 
and that their agreement is decisive proof that they were 
drawing from the same living model, the answer is that in 
the case of the three it is admitted and certain that none of the 
portraits is strictly primitive, but that all are elaborations of 
the same original or originals ; whereas the fourth is con- 
fessedly so divergent from the other three as to make even 
the most stout-hearted despair of harmonisation. 

If, now, it be urged that the perfection of the character 
delineated goes beyond the power of any literary artist and 
beyond the conception of any philosophic genius of that 
period, the answer is that this is mere assumption, no matter 
how surpassing the perfection in question be supposed to be. 
The Judaso-Greco-Roman consciousness was perhaps the 
most intensely religious that this earth has ever seen. More- 
over, for centuries it had wrestled with ethical problems with 
energy, persistence, and determination that command admira- 
tion and excite wonder ; the Sage, the Perfect Man, had 
long been the object of its plastic imaginings ; and immediate 
inner communion and even identification with God had long 
been the goal of the strivings of many more or less exalted 
spirits. That, under such well-known and recognised con- 
ditions, especially with the transcendent model in the Second 
Book of the Republic in full view^ the Gospel-writer should 
have been able (if he desired) to depict a personality of 
altogether surpassing beauty, nobility, and excellence, seems 
to afford no occasion whatever for exclamation. 

138. But we have not yet touched the heart of the matter. 
The latent difficulty lies in a most erroneous view commonly 
entertained of the century in question and the one immediately 



preceding. We are prone to think of them as sunk in 
intellectual sloth and moral turpitude ; as wholly given 
up to the senses, to degrading lusts, to revolting crimes, 
to effeminacy, triviality, and bestiality. Now, for this 
view of the border centuries there is no justification. 
Undoubtedly such repulsive elements were actually present 
in that day and civilisation, even as they have been in every 
other. But that they were dominant, that they excluded 
their very opposites, is false and calumnious. Indeed, the 
presence of conspicuous vices would almost imply as natural 
reaction the presence of almost equally conspicuous virtues ; 
and that such virtues did indeed abound, that very high 
moral ideals were frequently set up and not infrequently 
approached, is the unambiguous witness of history. The 
eloquent indignation of the satirists attests the probity as 
well as the improbity of the age. No general inference lies 
from occasional examples of unnatural crimes ; precisely 
such examples come even now occasionally to light in the 
highest walks, intellectual and even official, of our modern 
life. Moreover, that the heart of the Roman world was still 
sound and its pulse steady, is proved decisively by the sudden 
triumph of Christianity, explain that triumph as you may. 
The multitudinous converts to the new faith were already 
in the main good men and true, whether God-fearing heathen 
or Israelites without guile. In general, it was their virtue 
that made them converts rather than their conversion that 
made them virtuous. They were already '* not far from the 
kingdom of God." Consider the centurion and the eunuch 
and Dorcas and Lydia and Timothy and the '* devout women " 
and ** God-worshippers " that throng the Book of Acts. The 
divine flame of Protochristianity fed upon an immense mass 
of long-prepared and highly combustible material. 

139. Neither was the age intellectually contemptible. Posi- 
donius, and still more Antiochus, were learned and vigorous 
thinkers. Only a little earlier Chrysippus was the most 
prolific and Karneades the subtlest of all Greek philosophers. 
Roman poetry sought not only to follow in the steps of 
Homer and the dramatists, but also in Horace essayed 
ethical, and in Lucretius cosmological, flights. In fact, 
philosophy, since Socrates become more and more emphati- 


cally ethical, had deeply tinged the whole current of human 
life ; and men of action, like Brutus, Cicero, Cato, Sergius 
Paulus, and the Antonines, devoted far more time to specu- 
lative reading and to converse with philosophers than does 
the modern member of Congress or Parliament or the 
Reichstag or the Chambers. In the first century Philosophy 
positively mounted the imperial throne, and in the second 
she ruled for two generations with splendour and beneficence 
scarcely equalled in the annals of man. Nor dare we forget 
the great birth of Neo-Platonism, for which a long period of 
fitting preparation must have been necessary. On this same 
point we cannot dwell longer in this connection. In a future 
volume we hope to return to the matter, and to submit the 
conclusive proof in all desirable detail. Regard it, then, as 
you will, it seems sufficiently clear that the border centuries 
(150 B.C.-150 A.c.) presented every conceivable condition 
requisite to account for an imaginative delineation of virtue 
just such as the modern reader fancies he finds photo- 
graphically reproduced in the Gospels. Even then, should 
we concede that he has read these Scriptures aright, it would 
still be unsettled whether the character delineated was 
historical or an ideal. 

140. But we are as far as possible from making any such 
concession. It is not in any sense or measure true that the 
Evangelists, at least the Synoptists, have sought either to 
reproduce or to create any human character at all, either 
actual or ideal. This is a most radical contention, concerning 
which, however, we can entertain no doubt whatever, and it 
must be grounded solidly and unshakably. In the foregoing 
pages the minuter philologic proof has been submitted, and 
it has been shown that precisely the terms that seem to 
denote most distinctly the personal character of Jesus have 
no personal human reference at all, but are specially selected 
to indicate his divinity and non-humanity. At this point it 
is now in place to indicate certain much broader facts that 
bear exactly the same testimony. 

141. In the first place, that no faithful or vivid portraiture is 
present in the Gospels is clear enough from the fact that no 
human genius has yet been able to say convincingly what 
the character of Jesus really was. The various conceptions 


preceding. We are prone to think of them as sunk in 
intellectual sloth and moral turpitude ; as wholly given 
up to the senses, to degrading lusts, to revolting crimes, 
to effeminacy, triviality, and bestiality. Now, for this 
view of the border centuries there is no justification. 
Undoubtedly such repulsive elements were actually present 
in that day and civilisation, even as they have been in every 
other. But that they were dominant, that they excluded 
their very opposites, is false and calumnious. Indeed, the 
presence of conspicuous vices would almost imply as natural 
reaction the presence of almost equally conspicuous virtues ; 
and that such virtues did indeed abound, that very high 
moral ideals were frequently set up and not infrequently 
approached, is the unambiguous witness of history. The 
eloquent indignation of the satirists attests the probity as 
well as the improbity of the age. No general inference lies 
from occasional examples of unnatural crimes ; precisely 
such examples come even now occasionally to light in the 
highest walks, intellectual and even official, of our modern 
life. Moreover, that the heart of the Roman world was still 
sound and its pulse steady, is proved decisively by the sudden 
triumph of Christianity, explain that triumph as you may. 
The multitudinous converts to the new faith were already 
in the main good men and true, whether God-fearing heathen 
or Israelites without guile. In general, it was their virtue 
that made them converts rather than their conversion that 
made them virtuous. They were already "not far from the 
kingdom of God." Consider the centurion and the eunuch 
and Dorcas and Lydia and Timothy and the '* devout women " 
and " God-worshippers " that throng the Book of Acts. The 
divine flame of Protochristianity fed upon an immense mass 
of long-prepared and highly combustible material. 

139. Neither was the age intellectually contemptible. Posi- 
donius, and still more Antiochus, were learned and vigorous 
thinkers. Only a little earlier Chrysippus was the most 
prolific and Karneades the subtlest of all Greek philosophers. 
Roman poetry sought not only to follow in the steps of 
Homer and the dramatists, but also in Horace essayed 
ethical, and in Lucretius cosmological, flights. In fact, 
philosophy, since Socrates become more and more emphati- 


cally ethical, had deeply tinged the whole current of human 
life ; and men of action, like Brutus, Cicero, Cato, Sergius 
Paulus, and the Antonines, devoted far more time to specu- 
lative reading and to converse with philosophers than does 
the modern member of Congress or Parliament or the 
Reichstag or the Chambers. In the first century Philosophy 
positively mounted the imperial throne, and in the second 
she ruled for two generations with splendour and beneficence 
scarcely equalled in the annals of man. Nor dare we forget 
the great birth of Neo-Platonism, for which a long period of 
fitting preparation must have been necessary. On this same 
point we cannot dwell longer in this connection. In a future 
volume we hope to return to the matter, and to submit the 
conclusive proof in all desirable detail. Regard it, then, as 
you will, it seems sufficiently clear that the border centuries 
(150 B.C.-150 A.c.) presented every conceivable condition 
requisite to account for an imaginative delineation of virtue 
just such as the modern reader fancies he finds photo- 
graphically reproduced in the Gospels. Even then, should 
we concede that he has read these Scriptures aright, it would 
still be unsettled whether the character delineated was 
historical or an ideal. 

140. But we are as far as possible from making any such 
concession. It is not in any sense or measure true that the 
Evangelists, at least the Synoptists, have sought either to 
reproduce or to create any human character at all, either 
actual or ideal. This is a most radical contention, concerning 
which, however, we can entertain no doubt whatever, and it 
must be grounded solidly and unshakably. In the foregoing 
pages the minuter philologic proof has been submitted, and 
it has been shown that precisely the terms that seem to 
denote most distinctly the personal character of Jesus have 
no personal human reference at all, but are specially selected 
to indicate his divinity and non-humanity. At this point it 
is now in place to indicate certain much broader facts that 
bear exactly the same testimony. 

141. In the first place, that no faithful or vivid portraiture is 
present in the Gospels is clear enough from the fact that no 
human genius has yet been able to say convincingly what 
the character of Jesus really was. The various conceptions 


that anyone with literary feeling should stumble at these 
rhythmical, almost metrical, verses. In the mouth of a human 
Jesus at any time of his supposed ministry they are simply 
meaningless and impossible. Let anyone try to imagine the 
benevolent rabbi uttering such words, and he will perceive the 
incongruity straightway. We have long since ascribed to 
them a purely dogmatic content, and hence feel no difficulty ; 
but such a sense could not have been understood, nor intended, 
at the supposed time of utterance. None the less, the quota- 
tion is not only beautiful, but is perfectly intelligible. It is 
the voice of Wisdom that we hear, the Wisdom already 
mentioned just before (verse 19). It was common enough to 
represent this Wisdom, this Child of God, as preaching, as 
exhorting, as inviting men to her paths of pleasance and 
life. Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus are full of such representa- 
tions. ** Doth not Wisdom cry ?" '' She uttereth her voice 
on the streets." In Proverbs viii the divine creative functions 
of this Wisdom are eloquently set forth. In fact, in later 
Jewish thought she became a kind of deity, easily passing 
over into the Divine Logos, the Son of God. This is too 
well known to call for either proof or elaboration. Hence it 
is not at all strange that this invitation, along with the 
Doxology, is here ascribed to the Jesus, a closely kindred 
aspect of one and the same God.' Raising no unnecessary 
question as to the original form of the verses, we perceive 
clearly that the passage is a fragment of a Gnostic hymn 
(such as we elsewhere meet with in the New Testament), and 
testifies strongly to the deep religious feeling that dictated it, 
but not for an instant to any humanity of Jesus. 

145. A very striking proof that the human qualities with 
which we deck out the hero of the Gospel played no part in 
the primitive conception of our religion is this noteworthy 
fact that we find no mention of them, no allusion to them, in 
the oldest Christian writings. Paul and Peter and John, the 

* In fact, the Identification of the Jesus with Wisdom is not only common 
enough elsewhere, even frequent in Orig-en, but is found also in the Apostle 
(i Cor. i, 24, 30), and especially in Luke xi, 49, where the words of the Jesus 
in Matt, xxiii, 34, are ascribed to "the Wisdom of God." Compare the 
commentary of Wellhausen {£van. Luc. p. 52): "Jesus is to be sure the 
Achamoth " — the Gnostic Sophia (Wisdom), which Origen holds to be the " Son 
of God," in spite of the feminine gender (6". Cels. v, 39). 


author of Acts, the early apologists know practically nothing 
of this character supposed to be so vividly set forth in the 
Gospels. Their interest centres solely in the divine aspect of 
the Jesus, in the dogmatic purport and consequences of his 
cult and message. The modern Christian in controversy 
with a heathen would certainly have dwelt on the perfection 
of the man Jesus and his striking elevation in character over 
Moses and David and Elijah, over Socrates, Plato, Epami- 
nondas, and the rest, and would have expatiated on the 
measureless superiority of his ethical ideal to that of Zeno, 
of Antiochus, of Epicurus, of Cato, of any and of all the 
worthies of Greek philosophy and Roman history. Some 
such course of argument seems unavoidable for anyone 
occupying the standpoint of modern Christianity, whether 
orthodox or heterodox, whether conservative or liberal. But 
the ancient did nothing of the kind. He is dead silent 
precisely where and when the modern would have been 
most strenuously insistent and eloquent. The author of 
Hebrews does, indeed, compare the two covenants, and is 
very eager to show the higher excellence of the New and the 
incomparability of the great high-priest Jesus. But it is with 
him solely a question of official dignity, of precedence in rank 
and authority, of cosmical sway and sovereignty — in a word, 
of divine power and heavenly exaltation. He nowhere insists 
upon the human perfection, the exemplary character, the 
ethical virtue of the supernatural high-priest after the order 
of Melchizedek.^ Similarly throughout the long array of 
Old Christian Scriptures, canonic and uncanonic. The 
occasions were countless on which the writers might 
naturally have expatiated on such inviting themes ; that 
they did not do so is a demonstration that their consciousness 
was widely different from the modern. Yet they had at least 
our own present sources in which to behold the alleged vivid 
portrait of Jesus. That they practically never avail them- 
selves thereof is proof conclusive that they did not recognise 
therein the lifelike picture in question. Hereby they showed 
themselves much more objective and much less subjective 

^ The allusions to temptation (ii, 18 ; iv, 15) are not real exceptions, being 
merely vague and casual, and with only dogmatic import, with no clear refer- 
ence to anything historic. 


interpreters than their present-day followers. The matchless 
Jesus-character of the Gospels is, in fact, a modern invention, 
born of the necessity of supplacing with something highly 
respectable the genuine evangelic figure of a God, which 
criticism has striven so long with such plausibility and 
apparent success to remove from the Gospels and the early 
faith. The earlier (not the earliest) Christian centuries did, 
indeed, rejoice in the idea of the man Jesus, but they frankly 
created their hero in a host of palpably Active Gospels and 
legends ; unlike the modern, they did not find him already 
portrayed with inimitable and convincing fidelity and power 
in the pages of the ''Four Biographies." In the same spirit 
they also invented characters and lives for Mary and Joseph 
and numerous others. All such imaginations count for 
nothing in history, but the Scripture witness to the human 
personality of the Jesus is really much weaker than its 
witness to any secondary figure, because it is not merely 
negative, but very strongly positive against any such 

146. In his eight books Against Celsus the most alert mind 
of the early Church, Origen, has passed the ploughshare of his 
argument over the whole field of controversy. He has anti- 
cipated in substance nearly all the pleas of seventeen centuries 
of apology, and he is discussing Jesus and the representations 
of the Gospel on nearly every page. The acute and ruthless 
heathen, who had so alarmed Ambrosius and stirred him up 
to demand a word-by-word refutation from Origen, Celsus 
by no means spares the character of Jesus, but assails it at 
every point. Origen understood his logical responsibilities 
thoroughly, and he seizes eagerly upon every point of 
argumentative vantage. Had he perceived in the Gospels 
the vivid portrait of a unique, majestic, and beautiful man, 
it is inconceivable that he would not have mentioned it, that 
he would not have stressed it with all emphasis. But he 
does naught of the kind. He is unwearied in proofs from 
prophecy, to which he gives the first rank, in proofs from 
miracles and from the amazing triumphs of Christianity ; but 
he never argues from the human character of Jesus. When 
Celsus (in the person of his imaginary Jew) charges harshness 
upon Jesus, Origen's answer is most remarkable : the Jehovah 


of the Old Testament was equally harsh and threatening ! 
Here, indeed, he seems to have come very near the exact 
truth in h.\s argumenhcm ad homtnem. In his summary (ii, 79) 
and everywhere else the favourite modern argument from the 
matchless character of the Gospel hero is conspicuous only 
by its absence. Yet Origen is greatly concerned to vindicate 
in some way the humanity of Jesus, which he evidently 
regards as the Achilles' heel in his whole system of doctrine. 
He recurs to it continually, is ever advancing new forms of 
defence and recommending the dogma by new subtleties and 
plausibilities. That he never employs the favourite, yea, 
almost the exclusive proof of the modern liberal, seems to 
show with all desirable clearness that for his mind that proof 
did not exist. Origen did not perceive in the Gospel story 
the vivid portrait of a matchless, unmistakably human 
character ; yet no man has ever studied the Scriptures more 
deeply, or mastered their contents more comprehensively. It 
seems impossible that such a genius of exegesis should have 
failed to observe what the modern liberal sees lying plain as 
day spread out over the whole surface, if indeed it be really 
there, if it be not a figment of modern fancy. The observa- 
tions just made concerning Origen maybe repeated mutatis 
mutandis of all the great scribes of Old Christian literature. 
Save as a mere dogma, the human character of Jesus seems 
to form no appreciable element of the early Christian con- 
sciousness ; and as a dogma it is never defended in the 
modern fashion by appeal to the lifelike depiction of the 
Gospels. Yet unquestionably this early Christian conscious- 
ness stood far closer to the supposed human personality in 
question in every respect, racially, geographically, socially, 
intellectually, than does any modern West-European con- 
sciousness. Moreover, be it repeated, that early conscious- 
ness (from A.D. 100 on) was as intensely interested in 
establishing that humanity as is the modern in Germany or 
Britain. There is then one and only one possible conclusion, 
the one already recommended by numerous and decisive 
independent considerations : The alleged vivid human por- 
traiture is not really present i7i the New Testament ; it is a 
reflection, from the Gospel mirror, of the consciousness of 
the modern Christian reader. As the ancient believer 


beheld the whole story of the Gospels, the whole new 
Dispensation, foreshadowed in its minutest details in the 
Old Testament, so the modern believer beholds all the 
features of his Ideal Man delineated in the evangelic writings. 
We know now that it was wholly an illusion in the first case ; 
we shall soon recognise that the illusion is quite as complete 
in the second. 

147. As a further and final general demonstration, we enter 
what might be called the topographical argument, hitherto 
unhinted. It is simply this : If Jesus was a great, impressive, 
commanding, human personality, in terms of which must 
mainly be understood the message and mission of Chris- 
tianity ; if his personal influence and ministry, whether 
merely natural, though wonderful, or supernatural, whether 
pure-human or superhuman, initiated and determined that 
great religious movement, then of necessity would the region 
of his personal activity, where he taught and preached and 
healed and gathered about him his first devoted disciples, 
have been the centre and hearthstone of the " new teaching," 
there we should find the earliest and perhaps strongest 
churches, with that region would tradition connect the oldest 
and most distinguished disciples. Let no one cite at this 
point the saying that a prophet is not without honour, save 
in his own country and among his own people. Even 
granted the truth of the saying, it would have no relevance. 
For we are not talking about '' his own country and his own 
people," but about the chosen region of his successful 
activity ; not where he could do no mighty work, but where 
he is reputed to have done many and practically all his 
mighty works, and captivated the multitudes, and won his 
first and only faithful following, and achieved all of his 
personal triumphs. True it is, if Jesus had changed the 
scene of his activity, if he had gone elsewhere and there 
established a new school, and gathered round him a still 
more numerous and enthusiastic band of believers, and had 
prolonged his stay in this new capital till the end, then, 
indeed, this new theatre might have taken the place of the 
old, and figured in history as the emanative focus of the new 
faith. However, nothing of the kind took place, according 
to the Scriptures. The deeds of might were confined 


practically to Galilee. There was the preaching heard, there 
the healing done, there were the demons expelled, there the 
disciples called and charged and instructed, there the multi- 
tude gathered and cried out in amazement, " Never man 
spake like this man." By all the laws of human psychology,*! 
by all the precedents of human history, this same rich and / I 
populous Galilee, the exclusive scene of the personal ministry ^ 
of Jesus, should, and indeed must, have been the principal 
theatre of the first activity of the Galilean disciples ; there 
should have been proclaimed first of all the gospel of the 
resurrection, there wrought the first miracles of the new 
spirit, there formed the first congregations, there established 
the first churches. Thence, in an ever-widening circle, the 
waves of the gospel mission should have issued and spread 
themselves all over the empire. But what are the facts in the 
case? They are all reversed as completely as possible! 
With the departure from Galilee for Jerusalem, Galilee 
vanishes from the horizon of the Scriptures, never to appear 
again. The poor peasants never view again the shores of 
their native lake. Never do they revisit the scenes made 
sacred to them by the life and doctrine of Jesus ; never do they 
see again where his feet trod, where his voice resounded, 
where his miracles were wrought, where the peoples thronged 
him, where the waves were stilled and the multitudes fed ; 
never do they bear back word to their friends, to their 
kinsmen, to those that believe on him there. Galilee is 
deserted and forgotten completely and forever ; no gospel 
is preached there, no church founded, no letters addressed 
to the saints. The disciples proclaim their message in 
Jerusalem, in Caesarea, in Antioch, in Joppa, in Crete, in 
Corinth, in Thessalonica, in Galatia, in Rome — yea, every- 
where, but not in the one place where of all places in the 
world the proclamation would have been most natural and 
most effective — yea, in the only place where it could have 
been either natural or effective. Had the Galilean disciples 
proclaimed the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus to 
Galileans in Galilee, where Jesus had already laboured 
and captivated all men by his personality and marvellous 
deeds and doctrine, it is at least conceivable that the 
preaching might have found some acceptance among his 


former admirers and adherents ; a cult might possibly have 
sprung- up in such circles. But for them to abandon this 
most promising of all fields for their mission, and to open 
their grand campaign in the heart of the enemy's country, 
where they had no friends, where there was no sentiment 
already that favoured them or Jesus, where they could not 
summon a single witness in their own behalf, where all was 
indifference or positive hostility, where not a single favouring 
condition was present and not a single unfavouring circum- 
stance was absent — this would have been an absurdity that 
no rational man, no matter under what possession or pre- 
possession, could have perpetrated. Beyond the shadow of 
a doubt, had Galilean disciples opened this great campaign 
as is described in Acts i, ii, it would have been said, "These 
men are full of new wine," and that would have been the end 
thereof. No person would have paid them any attention. 
The author of John xxi seems to have felt the necessity of 
restoring the disciples to their homes in Galilee, so he has 
them go a-fishing in the sea, and there catch the miraculous 
draught of one hundred and fifty-three great fishes — that is, 
capture the heathen world in the unbreaking net of the 
Church. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Galilee cuts no 
figure at all in the actual tradition of the first preaching of the 
Gospel ; and this fact negatives finally and forever the notion 
that Galilee was the scene of a life in which that Gospel was 
grounded, from which it sprung, and to which it returned as 
to its one and only source of authority and inspiration. 

148. Of all the religious movements of which we have any 
exact knowledge (for the history of Mormonism offers no 
such parallel), the recent rise and career of Lazzarettism in 
Tuscany furnishes by far the closest and worthiest parallel to 
primitive Christianity as conceived by the liberal critics. 
Renan, Rassmussen, and Barzellotti, among others, have 
perceived and stressed the remarkable likeness, and have 
thought to find in the carefully-ascertained and verified facts 
of this recent case (1878) a thoroughly satisfactory commentary 
on the so-called Galilean movement of nearly two thousand 
years ago. Now it is exactly at this capital and vital point 
that the two stories repel each other to opposite poles, that 
they contrast as sharply as could be imagined. In the case 


of Lazzaretti the course of events is exactly what common 
sense requires as natural and necessary, whereas in the case 
of Jesus and the Gospel it is reversed precisely and in every 
particular. For the minuter particulars the reader may be 
referred to the excellent work of Barzellotti, Monte Amiata 
e il suo prof eta (David Lazzaretti )y reviewed by me in the 
International Journal of Ethics (October, 191 1), from which 
review it will suffice to quote the following : — 

As to the scientific value of Barzellotti's and similar works, and 
the importance of the spirit and method of investigation which they 
exemplify, we shall not raise any question. But at one point of vital 
significance we must register a wide dissent and the most emphatic 
protest. Even though one accept with very slight reserve the 
analysis of the general religious consciousness and of many of its 
most notable active manifestations in the genesis of cults and sects 
and orders, even granted that the pre-Christian and proto-Christian 
religious consciousness must be measured in some dimensions with 
the one universal standard, it still remains true that the parallel, 
whether express or implied between the Saint and the Jesus, is 
wholly imaginary and misleading, and that any and every attempt 
to interpret the origin of Christianity in terms of Lazzaretti or 
St. Francis, or any and all human personalities, must fail henceforth 
as hitherto, flatly, hopelessly, and ignomlnlously. For all such Inter- 
pretations begin and end with a strange neglect of the central and 
pivotal fact of proto-Chrlstianlty — namely, that It was a monotheism, 
begotten, born, and reared In an intensely monotheistic consciousness, 
directed squarely and firmly against the prevailing polytheism, which 
was the one supreme religious fact of the day, and of necessity formed 
the point of attack for any religious movement emerging from Greco- 
Jewish circles. It Is this one overshadowing fact that separates the 
Christian and the Lazzaretti movements as far apart as the poles, 
that forces them apart by the whole sphere of experience. In the 
presence of this broad and decisive diversity, the multiplied similari- 
ties In detail that appear in connection with the current superficial 
and systematically false Interpretation of the Gospels must all sink 
Into Insignificance, while the deeper and correcter Interpretation 
shows them to be but shadows, void of any substance whatever. 
Let one Illustration suffice. The strength of Lazzarettism lay In the 
personality of David. In what his charm consisted it is superfluous 
to Inquire. Suffice It that few of his fellows could resist the spell, 
still less could any one break It once cast upon him. So far forth he 
was Indeed the exact counterpart of the " Jesusblld," as it flourishes 
in the fancy of liberal critics. But now mark the difference. 
Naturally and necessarily, since It was the personal fascination 
exerted by David that won him disciples, these latter were found 
from first to last In the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Says 


our author (p. 339) : " Not everywhere on Mount Amiata, but in 
Arcidosso and in the neighbouring hamlets, in those nearest to 
Mount Labbro in the fields that face the Maremma, where the 
prophet found from the start the majority of his followers, there 
remain still faithful nearly all the survivors of the societies founded 
by him, his apostles and some of the younger disciples, of those 
called later to the faith." Beyond this charmed circle of his own 
personality the faith of the Lazzaretti has never extended, and we 
may safely say can never extend itself perceptibly. Not only is this 
precisely as it should be, it seems precisely as it must be. Now had 
the Christian propaganda resembled Lazzaretti's in its origin, had it 
welled out from a single pure-human source, as the critics maintain, 
then surely something similar would have happened. The region of 
the personal influence of Jesus, the fertile and populous shores of 
Galilee, would have formed the radiant focus of his gospel mission, 
thence it would have spread itself in widening waves, and always at 
the front we should have found the historic names of the immediate 
primitive disciples. However, in the case actually presented all this 
is exactly reversed. Galilee Is practically unknown in the early 
preaching. The primitive churches or groups of disciples spring up 
In remote regions, In Damascus, in Antioch, In Crete, in Libya ; we 
find Epistles to Corinthians, to Galatians, to Romans, to the 
Dispersion, and to many others, but none to the saints in Caper- 
naum, or in Chorazin, or in Bethsalda, or in Nazareth, or even In 
Jerusalem. Neither are the historical primitive propagandists the 
friends, fellow-citizens, and personal disciples of the Jesus. Saul of 
Tarsus, Ananias of Damascus, Apollos of Alexandria, Prisca and 
Aquila of Rome, Barnabas of Cyprus, Stephen the protomartyr, 
Philip the deacon, and various other missionaries — none was ever 
acquainted with a human Jesus. The twelve Apostles stand forth 
but as shadows of mighty names. The earliest traditions find 
nothing for them to do, can tell nothing of their activity. This Is 
notoriously true of eleven, and is. In fact, also true of the one 
apparent exception, Simon Peter. Thus the supposed similarity 
between the two origins of the two movements turns out to be a 
dissimilarity and contrast so complete as of itself to show the 
impossibility of explaining the two similarly. Since Lazzarettism 
was admittedly an emanation from a purely human focus, we have 
no choice but to admit that primitive Christianity was not such an 
emanation In any such sense. So far, then, from corroborating and 
verislmilating the modern critical theory of Christian origins, the 
example of David must shatter and disprove It utterly. BarzellottI 
and his peers have indeed rendered a gre^ service to science by 
their Intense study of this recent religious phenomenon, but In a 
sense exactly the reverse of the Intended. They have builded better 
than they knew. 

This argument seems to be decisive. The geographic 


facts of the first proclamation and expansion of Christianity 
negative conclusively the liberal theory of the wonderful 
Galilean carpenter. No critic thus far has met the argument 
in Der vorchristliche Jesus on the multifocal origin of Chris- 
tianity. The considerations here adduced strengthen that 
argument to positive irrefragable demonstration. What will 
the Liberals do about it? 



aiK^OLV yap ovtolv (f)i\oLV ocrtov TrpoTLfxav rrjv dXyOeLav. — ARISTOTLE. 


I. The manner in which the deepest, the most difficult, and 
by far the most important problem of the New Testament is 
almost uniformly treated by the most accredited spokesmen 
of the Higher Criticism is cavalier to a degree that must 
make the judicious grieve. It is only with an impatient air 
of undisguised condescension that they will deign so much 
as to admit it into the arena of debate, and, once admitted, it 
is adjudicated in the foregone sense with a speed, not to say 
precipitation, that reminds one of the ad patibulum^ ad 
patihulum of the awakened judge in the good old days of 
Alva. In the German edition of this book it was thought 
well to devote some seven pages to the complacent arguments 
advanced by Renan, Reville, and Keim, before the historicity 
of the Jesus had really become a burning question. Such a 
discussion promised to be instructive, at least in showing 
how closely the more recent had been compelled to follow 
the elder apologists, how little real advance the latest and 
most learned liberalism had been able to register. However, 
these pages have been omitted from this edition to make 
room for matters of graver moment, and because the bulk of 
the considerations therein gathered together may now be 
found in equivalent though more elaborate forms distributed 
at proper places in this volume, so that its argument in no 
way suffers from the omission. 

2. There is, however, one exception to this rule of inade- 
quacy — an exception so noteworthy as to merit especial and 
minute consideration. Professor Paul Wilhelm Schmiedel 
of Zurich, the great successor of the great Volkmar, 

177 N 


understands the case perfectly, and in his most notable article 
on "The Gospels" in the Encyclopcedia Bihlica (§§ 131, 139, 
140, 141) he has developed a real argument that calls for the 
closest scrutiny along with unreserved admiration.^ So 
important is this formal and serious attempt to show the 
historicity of the Jesus that its basis deserves to be quoted 
in extenso, Schmiedel rightly declares it " unfortunate that 
the decision as to the credibility of the Gospel narrative 
should be made to depend upon the determination of a 
problem so difficult and perhaps insoluble as the synoptical 
is." Very true. To adjourn a problem till the " synoptic 
question " is settled is to adjourn it to the Greek calends. 
But we must observe that the question of the historicity of 
Jesus, as we conceive it, is not at all the same as the question 
of "the credibility of the Gospel narrative." To maintain 
that the Gospels are in the main a conscious and elaborate 
symbolism, is not to say anything against their credibility. 
We may speak of the force, the beauty, the propriety of a 
simile or metaphor or parable, but never of its credibility or 
incredibility. This is a distinction essential to bear in mind. 
To forget it is to become incapable of any proper apprecia- 
tion of the matter in hand. 

3. Schmiedel continues : " The examination of the credi- 
bility must from the beginning be set about from two opposite 
points of view. On the one hand, we must set on one side 
everything which for any reason arising either from the 
substance or from considerations of literary criticism has to 
be regarded as doubtful or as wrong ; on the other hand, 
one must make search for all such data as, from the nature 
of their contents cannot possibly on any account be regarded 
as inventions. 

4. " When a profane historian finds before him a historical 
> document which testifies to the worship of a hero unknown 

to other sources, he attaches first and foremost importance to 
those features which cannot be deduced merely from the fact 
of this worship, and he does so on the simple and sufficient 

* Of course, it is not meant that Schmiedel's argument is without anticipa- 
tions or parallels of any kind — so much could rarely be said of any scientific 
procedure. Nonetheless, by just accentuation and painstaking development 
he has made it peculiarly his own. 


ground that they would not be found in this source unless 
the author had met with them as fixed data of tradition. The 
same fundamental principle may safely be applied in the 
case of the Gospels, for they also are all of them written 
by worshippers of Jesus. We now have accordingly the 
advantage — which cannot be appreciated too highly — of 
being in a position to recognise something as being worthy 
of belief even without being able to say, or even being called 
on to inquire, whether it comes from original Mark, from 
logia, from oral tradition, or from any other quarter that 
may be alleged. The relative priority becomes a matter of 
indifference, because the absolute priority — that is, the origin 
in real tradition — is certain. In such points the question as 
to credibility becomes independent of the synoptical question. 
Here the clearest cases are those in which only one evangelist, 
or two, have data of this class, and the second, or third, or 
both, are found to have taken occasion to alter these in the 
interests of the reverence due to Jesus. If we discover any 
such points — even if only a few — they guarantee not only 
their own contents, but also much more. For in that case 
one may also hold as credible all else which agrees in 
character with these, and is in other respects not open to 
suspicion. Indeed the thoroughly disinterested historian 
must recognise it as his duty to investigate the grounds for 
this so great reverence for himself which Jesus was able to 
call forth ; and he will then, first and foremost, find himself 
led to recognise as true the two great facts that Jesus had 
compassion for the multitude and that he preached with 
power, not as the scribes (Matthew ix, 36 ; vii, 29). Let us, 
then, proceed to test in the two ways indicated some of the 
leading points in the synoptic gospels." 

5. Professor Schmiedel now goes forward with this 
critical testing, and at first with only negative and unfavour- 
able results touching the "Chronological framework" (132), 
the " Order of the narrative" (133), "Occasions of utterances 
of Jesus" (134), "Places and persons" (135), "Conditions 
belonging to a later time" (136), "The miracle-narratives" 
(i37)j ''The Resurrection of Jesus" (138). At last, however, 
after this weary pilgrimage through the desert of negation, 
he reaches the promised land of affirmation and certainty, 


and confidently exclaims in joy : " 139. Absolutely credible 
passages : (a) About Jesus in general. 140. (b) On the 
miracles of Jesus." 

6. It is with lively interest that one hears this announce- 
ment, though the terms are not perfectly reassuring. It is 
one thing for a passage or statement to be " absolutely 
credible," and quite another for it to compel belief, for its 
contradictory to be incredible. With regard to many narra- 
tives, we may have to admit that they are ''absolutely 
credible"; there may be no reason for disbelieving, and yet 
there may at the same time be no reason whatsoever for 
believing them. Judgment in such cases would have to 
remain balanced until some decisive external consideration 
should be thrown into the scale. This observation deserves 
to be made at this point, because of its pertinence, not so 
much to the case in hand as to scores of critical works that 
are thoroughly vitiated by this fallacy of assuming that, if a 
Gospel incident be not in itself nor in its context unbelievable, 
it should therefore be believed — a principle that would compel 
us to accept as history whole libraries of fictitious literature. Of 
course, it may be taken for granted that Professor Schmiedel 
does not entrap himself in such a paralogism. In his article 
we must suppose that by "absolutely credible" is meant 
absolutely coercing belief, compelling acceptance ; in which 
case our lively interest becomes intense. 

7. What, then, are these passages of such transcendent 
importance? Under (a) we find five: (i) Mark x, 17 f. 
(" Why callest thou me good ? None is good save God 
only") ; (2) Matthew xii, 31 /. (that blasphemy against the 
Son of Man can be forgiven); (3) Mark iii, 21 (that his 
relations held him to be beside himself) ; (4) Mark xiii, 32 
(" Of that day and of that hour knoweth no one, not even 
the angels in heaven, neither the Son but the Father"); 
(5) Mark xv, 34 (" My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me?"). Under (b) we find: (i) Mark viii, 12 (where Jesus 
refuses to work a sign) ; (2) Mark vi, 5 (Jesus able to do no 
deed of might in Nazareth); (3) Mark viii, 14-21 ("Take 
heed, beware ot the leaven of the Pharisees," etc.); (4) 
Matthew xi, 5 — Luke vii, 22 (answer to message from John 
the Baptist). 


8. Such are the nine pillars of the Gospel conceived as 
history. The falcon eye, the sleuth-hound scent of the 
Zurich professor has espied and detected these nine — no 
more. Certainly they are, in number at least, enough. It 
is claimed for them that they '' might be called the founda- 
tion-pillars for a truly scientific life of Jesus"; that ''they 
prove " " that in the person of Jesus we have to do with a 

completely human being they also prove that he really 

did exist [as an historic man], and that the Gospels contain 
at least some absolutely trustworthy facts concerning him." 
Elsewhere, as in his luminous Introduction to Arno 
Neumann's Jesus^ the Swiss critic has expressed himself 
even more unequivocally. He speaks of supplying "the 
proof of the historical existence of Jesus in a manner that 
shall be wholly immune from possibility of objection." 
Refuting Robertson, he holds that the latter " is thinking 
of texts which in themselves considered are equally applicable 
to a demigod and to a man ; while my ' foundation ' passages, 
on the other hand, are appropriate only to a man, and could 
never by any possibility have been written had the author 
been thinking of a demigod " (p. xvii). Most distinctly of 
all, p. xviii : " We are thus brought to a simple question of 
fact : Has the distinctive peculiarity of the foundation-passages 
been correctly stated ? Could worshippers of Jesus, such as 
by universal consent the writers of the Gospels were, possibly 
have invented for him such words as * Why callest thou me 

good? None is good, save God alone' (Mark x, i8) And 

so forth. If they were led by their worship for Jesus alone, 
they could not. They must, therefore, have been led by a 
tradition. But, further, this tradition was itself really handed 
down by worshippers of Jesus ; and, accordingly, these texts 
cannot have been invented even in this preliminary stage of 
Gospel composition, but must rest upon a faithful reproduc- 
tion of facts. Mr. Robertson has not gone into the question 
whether this be so or not." 

Lastly, and most pointedly, p. xxi : ''In reality my 
foundation-texts were in no sense sought out by me for any 
purpose whatever ; they thrust themselves upon me in virtue of 
one feature, and of one feature only : the impossibility of 
their having been invented, and their consequent credibility." 


9. Surely the reader must now understand clearly this 
argumentation. Prof. Schmiedel maintains that nine passages 
written and preserved by the worshippers of Jesus are so 
directly opposed to their conception of Jesus as a being to be 
worshipped that they could not have been invented by these 
worshippers ; hence he concludes they must have been part 
of a tradition concerning the Jesus, in which tradition he 
appeared, not as a being to be worshipped, but as a man. 
This tradition, as lying behind all written gospels, we should 
have to accept as original and trustworthy, at least as to its 
central point, the historic manhood of Jesus. 

This seems to be an admirable piece of critical thinking, 
and to deserve the highest tribute that can be paid to contro- 
versial dialectic — the tribute of minute, exhaustive, and 
impartial examination. 


10. Before proceeding to the detailed exploration of these 
pillared bases, it may be well to premise certain general 
observations. It will be noticed, in the first place, that in 
this demonstration Prof. Schmiedel essays to show forth an 
impossibility. He maintains that the Christian authors could 
not possibly of their own accord impute certain words and 
deeds to the Jesus, that the same must have been imposed on 
them by a tradition against which, indeed, they kicked, but 
in vain. Now an obvious reflection in the presence of this 
contention is that it is certainly a very large contract. All 
universal affirmatives are hard to establish — full as hard all 
universal negatives ; this one seems particularly inaccessible 
to rigorous proof. In order to see clearly that no one wor- 
shipping Jesus as a deity could have attributed to him such 
and such words or deeds, one would have to make a pretty 
accurate inventory of the psychic contents of the nature of 
many thousand Jews and Gentiles during the border cen- 
turies (150 A.c. to 150 P.c). Such an inventory is plainly 
impracticable, and has never been attempted. But of one 
thing we may rest well assured — those contents were in any 
case extraordinarily varied. To prove this we need not refer 
to the vast library of the countless sects that adorn the pages 
of the early heresiographers and the historians of primitive 


Christianity. It is enough to flutter through the leaves of 
the New Testament, where there are not, indeed, just as 
many views as there are writers or writings, but, in fact, far 
more, for the same Gospel or Epistle offers often abundant 
irreconcilable varieties of teaching. 

II. Nor are these species and sub-species always close 
akin ; often enough they seem thrust asunder by the whole 
diameter of doctrine. At one place it is faith without works 
that justifies ; at another this same faith without works is 
dead ; often, too, the conceptions are not so much contra- 
dictory as almost entirely unrelated, having apparently little 
more to do with each other than algebra and geometry, or 
than music and painting. Witness Romans and Hebrews, 
Galatians and Ephesians, Colossians and the Apocalypse, 
John and Mark. It seems superfluously evident that it is 
with a most manifold wisdom that we have to deal, and that 
it is altogether vain to look for any sort of consistency. In 
such a heterogeneous mass we may expect to find a little of 
almost everything, both Jew and Gentile, both Scythian and 
Greek. If occasionally the most bizarre imaginings meet 
us, as (Hebrews vii, 3) of the historic High-Priest Melchizedek, 
fatherless, motherless, undescended (like a Linn^ean species), 
eternal ; or some Stoic dogma, as the universal conflagration 
{eKirvpdxngy 2 Peter iii, 10) ; or some Babylonian astronomical 
conception of the restoration of all things (Acts iii, 21) ; or 
some Persian fancy of the accompanying angel or astral self 
(Mark xiv, 51, 52) — none of such encounters need move us 
greatly. All of these things must come to pass, but the end 
is not yet. 

12. At first blush, then, it seems to be an act of logical 
hardihood to declare it was impossible for anyone worship- 
ping Jesus to speak or write thus and thus. Verily many 
things were possible to the many-coloured religious con- 
sciousness of that era — many, doubtless, that have not yet 
been dreamed of in our philosophy. It is not easy to com- 
prehend our fellows even in the present day. Certain of us 
stand completely nonplussed by the phenomena of Christian 
Science and its practical deification of Mrs. Eddy. Other 
examples hardly less striking offer themselves in abundance. 
How, then, can we pretend to fathom or exhaust the 


possibilities of the Greek-Rotnan-Egyptian-Syrian-Judsean 
consciousness of nineteen hundred years ago ? Most moderns 
think of God as One, in whom is naught but peace — no 
strife at all ; yet even such a philosopher as the late lamented 
Friedrich Paulsen tells us " that God's life is not without 
inner conflicts." If such a statement had been made of 
Jesus's life, how easy to have inferred that he could not have 
been conceived as God ! The mixed multitudes of Hither 
Asia thought endlessly contrarious things of their deities ; 
and it seems most hazardous to affirm that certain " passages 
are appropriate only to a man, and could never, by any 
possibility, have been written had the author been thinking 
of a demigod." Strong words are these and others already 
quoted ; but their strength rather rouses than allays a 
suspicion of their correctness. 

13. Even if we could not conceive how they could have 
been so written, what would that prove? That no one could 
have so written them ? By no means ! But only that we 
could not have so written them. Now, is the impossible for 
us necessarily impossible also for the Jew-Greek, for the 
Palestinian, of nineteen centuries past? Assuredly not. 
^^Dugleichst dent Geist den du hegreifsf^ \ but certainly not 
the religious spirit of that border-land and time. 

14. Here, then, at the very start we detect a fatal flaw in 
the seductive syllogism. The impossibility so confidently 
asserted cannot, in the nature of the case, be satisfactorily 
made out. Herewith we have not called to help a second 
observation — namely, that Professor Schmiedel has assumed 
that these pillar-passages are primitive and not later acces- 
sions. This assumption would have to be vindicated by 
careful examination of each case. The mere fact that a 
passage occurs in Mark is no guarantee of its primitive 
character. Even though Mark be the oldest narrative, yet 
there is much reason to regard the Logia source, so exten- 
sively exploited in Matthew, as still older ; and rarely can 
one say with certainty that a particular passage is of primary 
and not of secondary origin. Neither can one say with 
certainty that a given Mark-form (just because it is in Mark) 
must therefore be older than the parallel form in Luke or 
Matthew. We may prefer Mark's form in general, in the 


majority of cases, and yet recognise that Luke's or Matthew's 
may be preferable in special cases. On this point we need 
not dwell, since it will come up in the detailed discussion of 
the various pillars ; but it is touched here because we hold 
that the original relations of the human and the divine 
elements in the delineation of the Jesus have been exactly 
reversed in the minds of the Higher Critics : the divine was 
the primitive ; the human is the addition of a later fancy. 

15. Once more, this Schmiedelian argument seems 
embarrassed by a very stubborn difficulty of fact. In order 
to give force to the contention that certain passages seem to 
treat Jesus as a man, we must suppose that these passages 
passed through the revising hands or consciousness of such 
as worshipped him not as a man, but as God. Plainly, 
nothing could be inferred from texts that express the Unit- 
arian view, if these texts came to us only through Unitarian 
mediation. The whole edge of Schmiedel's reason is laid 
bare in his own words : " This tradition was itself really 
handed down by worshippers of Jesus"; while these pillar- 
passages (as he holds) were inconsistent with " their worship 
of Jesus." It is this supposed inconsistency that seems to 
him to make it impossible that they should have been inven- 
tions ; hence, he concludes, ''they must rest upon a faithful 
reproduction of facts." 

16. Let us look at this argument narrowly. Note, in the 
first place, that the question is not about whether such and 
such words and deeds are inconsistent with divinity, but only 
whether they appeared inconsistent in the minds of the Gospel 
writers. Of course, since no one, neither then nor now, 
knows what God really is, no one knows what is and what is 
not incongruous with His divinity. The most that anyone 
can say is that '* such and such agrees or does not agree 
with my conception of God — with the idea of Him in my 
mind." Accordingly, the question is : Did the passages 
under consideration contain elements incongruous with 
notions of divinity entertained by all the Gospel authors? 
We have already seen that there is no way to prove the 
affirmative conclusively ; our knowledge is not adequate. 
Now, however, one may take a long stride forward, and 
affirm that the fact assumed by Professor Schmiedel, that 


these passages were preserved and transmitted by these 
worshippers of Jesus, is decisive proof that in their minds 
the passages were not inconsistent with the Jesus-cult, 
were not inconsistent with divinity ; however they may 
seem to us^ they certainly were not inconsistent there- 
with in the minds of the Gospel writers (who were Jesus- 
worshippers). And the reason is obvious. If the passages 
had been felt as inconsistent with Jesus-worship, with the 
cult of the Jesus as God, they would have been altered, and 
the inconsistency would have been relieved. This conditional 
proposition we affirm with perfect confidence. The whole 
structure of the Gospels shows that the material at hand or 
supplied has been handled with the greatest possible freedom. 
Of course, no man knows this better than Professor Schmiedel. 
More than mere mention would seem to be almost an affront 
to the intelligence of the reader. Let anyone take down a 
Harmony^ of the Gospels, and consider carefully any page. 
He cannot fail to perceive that no language can exaggerate 
the liberty with which the Evangelists deal with all their 
material, whether it be words or deeds of the Jesus. 

17. Consider the case of the birth and compare the stories 
of Matthew and Luke, which are mutually exclusive in every 
detail. Consider the Resurrection and Ascension, note the 
radical divergence of Luke and Acts from the rest in the all- 
important matter of topography. Behold how John develops 
the Lazarus of Luke and transforms a parable into a history. 
Think of the hopeless diversity of form and of content in the 
story of the anointing of the Jesus. Compare Matthew's 
Sermon on the Mount with Luke's Sermon in the Plain. So 
on throughout. It is plain as day that the Gospel writers 
have felt themselves wholly untrammelled either by tradition 
or by precedent. It is equally plain that their over-workings 
have not been at random or careless. In countless cases a 
motive is unmistakably disclosed ; in many others, where 
not evident, it may by analogy be presumed. The Evangelists 
were not writing for fun, nor even for fame. Their object was 
to teach^ to supply their readers with *' undeceiving milk of 
doctrine " that they might grow thereby (i Peter ii, 2). 

' Lucus a non lucendo. 


Their sentences are surcharged with meaning ; they felt they 
had to give account of every idle word. The notion that 
they were simple folk, naively jotting down what they heard 
or indulging in pleasing reminiscences of good old days, is 
quite too absurd for consideration/ They had ideas and 
knew excellently well how to express them, how to slur and 
how to accent, how to hint guardedly and how to enforce 
with emphasis. A certain common stock of sentiments and 
conceptions is on all hands in evidence, but no Evangelist 
hesitates for a moment, if it suits his own purpose, to modify 
or even to reverse the statement of any or all of the others. 
Nor does he do this covertly or in a corner. He does it 
with openness and accentuates it by repetition. Thus the 
Synoptics (Matthew xxvi, 69 ; Luke xxii, 55, 56) tell us that 
Simon was sitting by the fire ; but John three times insists 
that he was standing (xviii, 16, 18, 25). 

18. In view of these facts we affirm with all boldness, as 
beyond contradiction, that the tradition, whatever it contained, 
whether of word or of deed, was as far as possible from being 
a sharp-angled crystal or a fragile vase ; on the contrary, it 
was malleable as tin, it was plastic as wax in the hands of 
the Evangelist. Not until far down in the second century 
was it labelled "Handle with care." "A faithful reproduc- 
tion of facts" — such would have been accounted the very 
least among the virtues of an early Gospel. "The letter 
killeth : it is the spirit that makes alive." 

19. We make bold to repeat, then, that the very fact that 
a certain word or deed is ascribed to the Jesus by a Gospel 
author is proof positive that it was not in conscious discord 
with that author's idea of the Jesus ; nor was it likely to 
have been in unconscious discord, for these Gospels are pre- 
eminently deliberate compositions, the words have been laid 
carefully in the scale, and even far down in the centuries we 
find the manuscripts consciously modified in the interest of 
subtle cogitation. The stricture is made upon the great 
Vatican MS. B, that the scribe has considered too curiously. 

20. Well, then ! The Evangelists were admittedly Jesus- 

^ For their rhetorical accomplishments see the important monographs of 
D. H. Mueller : Die Bergpredigt im Lichte der Strophentheorie, and Das 
Johannes- Evangelimn im Lichte der Strophentheorie, 


worshippers, they believed and earnestly propagated the 
doctrine that the Jesus was divine ; in their minds, then, the 
passages were not demonstrations of his mere humanity, 
they were not pillar-proofs ** that the divine is to be sought 
in him only in the form in which it is capable of being found 
in a man." Professor Schmiedel's notion that these tell-tale 
passages have been preserved out of reverence for the very 
words and very deeds of the Jesus is caught out of the air ; 
it is contradicted by everything that we know of the composi- 
tion of the Gospels. 

21. If now it be urged that, although the Gospel writers 
themselves might have felt no discord between these ** funda- 
mental passages " and the worship of the Jesus as a divinity, 
and so might have preserved the passages, yet the original 
writers, half-a-century older than the Gospels,^ must have 
felt the discord, and so could not have written the passages 
in a Jesus-worshipping frame of mind, but must have written 
them regarding the Jesus as human — we answer that such a 
contention is gratuitous assumption. There is no reason to 
believe that human nature changes greatly in fifty years, nor 
that a discord unfelt in the following generation would have 
been felt in the preceding. Since it was Jesus-worshippers 
that preserved these pillar-passages, we may rationally 
believe that it was Jesus-worshippers who originally wrote 

22. How easy it was for such an adorer of Jesus as a God 
to reconcile apparent contradictions is strikingly shown by 
an example that might well fill out the decade of pillar-proofs 
of the humanity and historicity of the Jesus. The prophecies 
of the imminent coming of the Son of Man at the destruction 
of Jerusalem, and of the prodigies on prodigies connected 
therewith, none of which were verified, would seem to be a 
crowning demonstration of humanity, and even widely errant 
humanity. Surely one might reason that no worshipper of 
the Jesus could have written such predictions ; surely they 
must have been uttered essentially as given, and preserved 
only by the reverence of the biographers intent upon a 

* If, indeed, these pillars do all belong to the oldest stratum of the Gospel 
deposit— which is far from certain, and is here granted only provisionally, for 
the sake of argument. 


*' faithful reproduction of facts." At first glance this seems 
to be plausibility itself. However, it is nothing more ; it 
is far from being fact. On turning to 2 Peter iii, 4, 8, we 
discover two things : that the difficulty was actually raised 
by certain ** scoffers," and that it did not disturb the serenity 
of the epistolist. The discord that jarred so harshly upon 
the "willingly ignorant" his faith readily resolved into a 
higher concord. By the simple and elegant device of 
introducing a constant multiplier (or divisor, as required), 
namely, 365,000 (neglecting some odd hundreds), he brings 
the prophecies into harmony not only with experience, but 
also with the loftiest previsions of stoical speculation. 
Perhaps someone may think such treatment a trifle heroic, 
but nay, not so ! It shall appear as mild and modest to a 
degree, on comparison with the manipulations of modern 
exegesis in handling the exact chronometry of Genesis i, 
whereby a day defined by one complete rotation of the earth 
on its axis (" and was evening and was morning, day one ") 
is expanded into a geologic age. And are there not millions 
of highly enlightened persons who even now find the Petrine 
reconciliation quite comme il faut? 

23. It seems, then, that the strong-winged shaft of Swiss 
argument has overshot its mark, because in aiming no 
allowance was made for the personal, the national, the 
temporal equation. Professor Schmiedel has not unnatur- 
ally, but yet unfortunately, judged others by himself ; he has 
projected his own highly-trained, sequacious, and scientific 
modes of thought across the sea of centuries into the minds of 
the deep-musing theosophists who organised the Christian 
system. The conclusions he has drawn might possibly hold 
for a consciousness like his own, but not for a consciousness 
like theirs. Such is the result to which we are guided by 
general reflections upon the whole matter and manner of this 
argument, without any special investigation of any passage 


24. It is now time to grapple more closely with these 
pillars of historic faith. Inasmuch as the arrangement is 
logically quite indifferent, we shall follow an order that seems 


more convenient than that given in the Encyclopcedta Biblica, 
and the reader will readily recognise the guiding principle. 

Mark iii, 21 : "And he cometh home.^ And there comes 
together again a multitude, so that they could not even eat 
bread. And having heard it, his friends^ went out to over- 
power ^ him ; for they said that He was distraught." '^ Now 
the idea in the Encyclopcedta seems to be that here we have 
preserved a genuine trait; that the Jesus here appears as an 
enthusiast, whom his friends held to be mad ;5 that such an 
incident could never have been invented by a Jesus-wor- 
shipper — hence that it is an original, preserved by the artless 
Mark, and priceless in its revelation. But notice that this 
construction takes the Marcan verses precisely at their face- 
value, as mere biographic notes or reportorial items. Now I 
hold this whole mode of interpretation to be radically and 
incurably wrong. It does the grossest injustice to the work 
of the second evangelist. A minute examination of Mark, 
verse by verse, proves incontestably that the work is essentially 
a symbolism from beginning to end. Symbolic interpretation 
is absolutely demanded in a host of important instances ; it is 
preferable in many more, and it is excluded in none. The 
literal biographic exegesis of these verses is, then, by no 
means certain in advance ; quietly to assume it is to assume 
nearly everything in dispute. 

25. On careful scrutiny, this prevailing construction ot 
the passage turns out to be entirely inconstructible. Let 
anyone imagine the situation. The Jesus goes into a house. 
Again, the crowd assembles in such numbers that they cannot 
so much as eat bread ! Understood as history, this is nothing 
less than puerile absurdity. We may not be perfectly sure 
what the evangelist means to say, but we must believe that 
he means to say something of significance, that more is meant 

^ ets oIkqv^ into a house. ' Those along^side of him, ol irap avrov. 

3 Kparrja-ai. * i^earr), stood out. 

5 It is painful to read the attempts of modern pathography to throw light on 
the " life " and " character " of the Jesus. It is enough to mention the names 
of Baumann, O. Holtzmann, Rassmussen, de Loosten, who summon all sorts 
of neuroses to their aid, and Schaefer, who opposes them all. But what else 
is possible than just such divagations in the erroneous wood of liberal 
theology? " Che la diritta via era smarrita." For the logical crest unto the 
crest, the perfect flower and ripened fruit of this more recent " eschatologie " 
theory, at present in such favour, the reader is commended to La Folie de 
Jhusy which were more fitly entitled La Folie de Binet-SanglS. 


than meets the ear. Again, who are these friends "beside 
him"? One would naturally think of his disciples as his 
friends ''beside him." But can we think of them as over- 
powering him ? Assuredly not. And what has been done to 
indicate or even suggest the insanity? Certainly nothing in 
the text. Possibly someone might think the multitudes 
insane, if not able to eat bread ; but they are not so charged 
withal. Notice also the queer word aKovaavreg (having heard), 
used without any object, and used of the " friends " — as if 
these " beside him " were not near him, but had received from 
afar some report of the situation. Observe still further that 
there follows an account of a strife over cashing- out demons^ 
in which the charge is brought that the Jesus has a demon, 
and that he casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of 
demons. Finally, note that the text is at this point peculiarly 
and hopelessly uncertain. The great Codex Bezce has the 
tempting variant : " And when they heard about him, the 
scribes and the rest went out to conquer him, for they said 
that he dements them (cglo-ra raiavTovq). And the scribes, 
those from Jerusalem,^ having gone down, said that he has 
Beelzebul," etc. The form is, of course, not active ; but the 
accusative "them" (avTovq^ requires the active sense. Since 
the spelling in D is particularly bad, we may conjecture that 
the verb is misspelled ; the active form is implied in the Latin 
translation exentiat {exsentiat) in many MSS. 

26. Of course, it is not possible to settle any text-critical 
question here with certainty. But common sense, which 
has some voice in such matters (pace Bengel), declares that 
the D-text, while itself corrupt, seems to have preserved a 
rationality that has been lost in the received form. It appears 
impossible not to recognise that the verses 20-21 are not 
complete in themselves — that they merely introduce the 
following sections. The form " concerning him "^ appears far 
preferable to " beside him";^ and herewith his "relations," 
suddenly, dropped down from the sky, are evaporated and 
return thither. Now, consider this fundamental fact. The 

^ This phrase is important. It was not the scribes in g-eneral, but those 
from Jerusalem, from the centre and heart of Jewish orthodoxy, that rejected 
the new cult, born in the Dispersion, as paganism and its deity as a heathen 
god. Precisely as we might expect ! 

' Trepi avrov. 3 trap avrov. 


demons of the New Testament are nothing hut pagan gods ; 
casting-out demons is nothing but converting from heathen 
worship to Jesus-worship. " But what they sacrifice they 
sacrifice to demons, and not to God," says the Apostle 
(i Cor. X, 20). Justin Martyr too bears witness, saying 
(Dial. 30 c) : " For from the demons, which are alien from 
the service of God, which formerly we worshipped, we pray 
God always to be preserved through Jesus Christ, that after 
conversion to God through him we may be blameless." 
Here, in plain prose, the adoption of the Jesus-cult converts 
from the worship of the demons. In the bold and splendid 
poetry of the New Testament the demons are cast out of 
Man by the word of the Jesus. That such is the meaning of 
the Gospel, it seems, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt. 
In the light of this fact we must explore the meaning of this 
pericope. The multitude throngs the Jesus. What is it but 
the rush of the world towards the Jesus-cult ? But the scribes 
declare that the Jesus himself hath a demon, and that he 
casts out demons by Beelzebul, prince of demons — that is, 
they maintain that the Jesus-cult is itself pagan ; that it is 
merely supplanting one heathen worship by another. This 
charge was so near-lying, containing as it did a certain 
element of truth, that it seems impossible it should not have 
been made. In Matthew xii, 27, Luke xi, 19, we find the 
argumentum ad hominem : " If I by Beelzebul cast out the 
demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?" which may 
refer to the fact that the Jews did drive out demons by prose- 
lyting, by converting from idol-worship to the service of the 
true God.^ The charge that the Jesus-cult was really idolatry 
must have stung the Christians to the very quick, and must 
have been resented with the fiercest energy.^ Hence it is 
here solemnly declared to be unforgivable. "Amen, I say 
unto you that all shall be forgiven the sons of men, the sins 
and the blasphemies whatever they may blaspheme ; but 
whoso shall blaspheme against the holy spirit has not 

^ Hereby it is not denied that some Jews may have attempted exorcism by 
magical means. 

2 Allusion to some such charge seems to be heard in the strange words of 
the Apostle (i Cor. xii, 3) : "Wherefore I give you to understand that no one 
speaking in the spirit of God saith ANATHEMA Jesus ; and no one can say 
Lord Jesus but in the Holy Spirit." 


forgiveness unto the age, but is guilty of age-lasting sin. 
Because they said, A spirit unclean hath he." The phrase 
" the holy spirit"' is rare in Mark, occurring only three times 
— here, xii, 36, and xiii, 1 1 ; only iii, 29, and xiii, 11, are strictly 
parallel, and both seem clearly late comparatively. The 
term " holy spirit " seems used only in contrast with " unclean 
spirit." They say he hath an unclean spirit, but we Christians 
say he hath the Holy Spirit. 

27. In Matthew xii, 32, we find thestatement that "Whoso 
shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven 
him"; and in Luke xii, 10, that " Everyone who shall say a 
word at the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him." This 
clause is clearly stamped in Matthew, and still more clearly 
by its dislocation in Luke, as a commentator's addition to the 
simpler Marcan original. The Son of Man looks here like 
a mere variant on Mark's ''the sons of men." As to the 
statement about not being able to eat bread, it seems to mean 
that the harvest was great, the labourers few ; that the eager 
demand for the bread of life (the doctrine of the Jesus) could 
not be adequately met by the first preachers, enumerated 
immediately before. The " house " or " home " referred to 
may be Judea. But on none of these minor points do we 
insist. The main thing is that verses 20-29 form a whole ; 
that the general subject is the thronging towards the new 
cult, which the Jewish officials admit is casting out pagan 
deities, but only (say they) by introducing another pagan 
deity in their stead. While we may never be able to establish 
the primitive text, we may be sure it said nothing about his 
'* relations," nor about His being insane. 

28. The symbolic character of this whole passage is 
attested by the symbolic character of the immediately following 
(iii, 31-33). Wellhausen recognises the two as organically 
related. The mother and the brethren standing without 
appear plainly to be the Jewish people holding aloof from 
the Jesus-cult ; and the passage would teach that no race- 
privileges hold in the new religion, that all are on equal 
footing, that all are one in Christ. 

29. The next pillar-passage has already been considered : 

* rb Tvevfia t6 Hycov. 


" Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be 
forgiven him " (Matthew xii, 32 ; Luke xii, 10). To Pro- 
fessor Schmiedel such a sentiment seems impossible as the 
invention of a Jesus-worshipper. This may or may not be 
so ; but, in any case, what of it? Does Professor Schmiedel 
really think that Jesus uttered such words? — that the Jesus 
called himself the Son of Man? Surely not. It was recog- 
nised as early as 1569 by Gilbert Genebrand that "Son of 
Man" here means only "man," as commonly in Syriac. 
Grotius, followed by Botten in 1792, attained the same 
position. More recently the learned Orientalists Meyer 
(1896) and Schmidt (1906) have powerfully maintained it. 
Holtzmann thinks that the " reference to the Son of Man has 
been spun out of the reference to the sons of men in the 
fundamental passage Mark iii, 28," as Pfleiderer had already 
declared in a footnote {Das Urchristentum^ p. 376). Well- 
hausen {Ev, Marci, p. 62) regards Matthew xii, 31-32, as a 
conflation of Mark iii, 28, and Luke xii, 10 (the Q-source) — 
"variants of one and the same saying." The priority he 
assigns to Mark, holding that in Q the Messias is meant, 
but in Mark men in general — man. He thinks it probable 
that Q found "son of man" instead of "sons of men" in 
Mark iii, 28, and misunderstood the singular, which really 
meant man — a singular that was later changed to the present 
plural. In his Skizzen und Vorarheiten^ vi, p. 204, Well- 
hausen, following a hint of Marcion, suggests that the 
original reading was : " Whatever is said by man." 

30. We are not called on to pronounce positively in such 
a case. It is enough that the pillar-passage is admittedly 
late — how late no man can say ; that it forms no part of the 
earliest Gospel, that its reference is very uncertain, that its 
text is far from sure. Such a pillar is too frail to bear the 
least weight of inference, and is worthless for the contention 
it is intended to sustain. 

31. Mark x, 18: "Why callest thou me good? None 
is good, save God only." Schmiedel reasons that a Jesus- 
worshipper could not have invented this disclaimer of good- 
ness, hence he concludes that the report is absolutely trust- 
worthy, that Jesus must have used these words, hence must 
have been an historic man. In this form the argument 


crumbles instantly, for it may be proved, and the writer has 
already proved in this volume that this famous incident is an 
elaborate symbolism, the Rich One being none other than the 
People of Israel, whom the Jesus (the new Jehovah) 'Moved " 
(verse 21), according to the prophet, " when Israel was young 
I loved him " (Hos. ii, i). With the historicity of the whole 
incident vanishes the historicity of the saying, and therewith 
the argument based thereon. But perhaps some one may 
interpose : " Never mind the incident; the saying still reveals 
a consciousness that could not have belonged to a Jesus- 
worshipper ; hence it must have been preserved through 
reverence, and shows that the older consciousness from which 
it proceeded must have thought of the Jesus as human (not 
in the highest sense good), and hence not as divine." This 
interpretation has pleased the Higher Critics immensely. It 
shows them a Jesus precisely after their own hearts, modest 
and lowly and intensely human, and they will not tolerate 
any other conception. Yet the Fathers did not see it in any 
such light. They regarded it as an argument for the divinity 
of the Jesus, a syllogism with suppressed conclusion : You 
call me good ; God alone is good ; therefore you call me 
(and correctly call me) God, " not protesting against himself 
being good," says the ancient exegete. And how will anyone 
prove that the Fathers were wrong? The very naivete of 
the ordinary conception seems rather suspicious. Moreover, 
the original form of the saying is doubtful. Luke, indeed 
(xviii, 19), reproduces the Marcan form, but Matthew presents 
quite another (xix, 17) : '' Master, what good shall I do that I 
may have life everlasting? But he said to him, * Why 
questionest thou me about the good? One is the good.'" 
The Greek here gives the masculine,' but the sense requires 
the neuter, the good. 2 In the Syriac the distinction of 
genders is lost as in English, hence Merx gives the three 
equally justified renderings of the Sinaitic (the oldest) text : 
Finer ist der Gute, Der Gute ist einer, Das Gute ist eines. 
Of these only the last is possible in the context, of which the 
Greek would be ev {earlv) to ayaOov. Now this is precisely the 
form assumed by the dogma of the Megarean Euclid, as we 

* efs effrlv 6 dya66s, " iv (iarlv) rb dya66v. 


learn from Diogenes Laertius (ii, 106) : " One is the Good, 
though called by many names. "^ On comparing the many 
varying text-authorities, manuscripts, versions, and citations, 
it seems clear not only that this was the primitive form in 
Matthew, but that it was the most primitive form of the 
saying of which we have any knowledge, for the variants 
reveal an unmistakable tendency to depart from this form 
and to approach the Mark-Lucan form. Thus the Peschita 
reads, " There is not Good, if not one — God." We can easily 
understand the derivation of the Mark-Lucan from the 
Matthasan, but not of the Matthaean from the Mark-Lucan. 
We must remain content, then, with the probability that the 
original form of the saying was '' One is the Good " — a catch- 
word of Greek ethical philosophy, correctly translated into 
Aramaic, then incorrectly translated back into Greek. 

32. So, it appears, there was in all likelihood no original 
reference to any good Personality, but only to the universal 
Principle of Goodness. Herewith, then, the position of the 
critic seems completely turned. But even if the Marcan text 
were accepted as original, there would still be allowed from 
it no inference as to the humanity and non-divinity of the 
Jesus. We have seen that the Fathers drew the opposite 
inference ; but suppose we grant that therein they were over- 
subtle ; let us suppose that the Jesus is represented as dis- 
claiming goodness ; it would certainly not mean that he was 
disclaiming it absolutely, but only relatively (as the Father 
says), "in contradistinction from the Goodness of God." 
Very well ; herefrom we could not infer that the original 
writer was conceiving him not as divine, but merely human. 
For there are many grades and aspects of divinity. F'or 
Jesus to be divine by no means identifies him throughout 
with the One Supreme God, with God the Most High"* 
(Luke viii, 28, Acts xvi, 17, Hebrews vii, i). With some 
the Jesus was only a certain mode or aspect of this God 
alone ; the worship of the Jesus or the Nazarene was not the 
worship of God in se^ but under the aspect of Saviour or of 
Guardian, in relation to men. The ancient mind was 
perfectly familiar with this notion of definite degrees or 

^ tv rb dyadbv iroWois dvSficuri KoXoufievov. ' 6 debs 6 iiiJ/iaTos. 


aspects or persons' of the Infinite Deity, and hence might 
very well represent such a Deity as disclaiming Goodness 
in comparison with the One God Most High. Tesl it^ then^ 
as you will^ this fundamental passage refuses to bear the 
testimony for which it was summoned. We pass, then, to 
the next, which is like unto it. 

33. Mark xiii, 32 (Matthew xxiv, 36) : " But concerning 
that day or that hour knows no one, neither the angels in 
heaven nor the Son, except the Father." It has no pertinence 
that many manuscripts omit ''nor the Son"; but what 
possible inference may be drawn concerning the humanity of 
the Jesus? We can see none. True, a larger knowledge is 
ascribed to the Father than to the Son, but this is perfectly 
natural, as we have just seen ; no one claims that the Jesus 
was originally vietaphysical Deity ^ the God Most High. On 
the other hand, the mere humanity seems implicitly but 
emphatically denied. The Son is placed above the angels 
in heaven and next to the Father (for plainly a climax is 
intended). The witness of this fundamental passage is 
directly against the position of the liberal critics, for it attests 
not the pure human and earthly, but the divine and celestial 
character of the Son (the Jesus). 

34. Last among the words attributed to the Jesus we find 
the cry on the Cross : " My God, my God, why hast thou 
forsaken me ?" (Matthew xxvii, 46 ; Mark xv, 34). It must 
be frankly and fully admitted that this is by far the most 
solid-seeming pillar-proof that the skilful research of the 
critic has been able to produce. At first sight it does look 
as if the Jesus were here represented as a mere man, an 
enthusiast abandoned to his fate, and at the last moment 
realising that he was forsaken both of earth and of heaven. 
Involuntarily we recall the pathetic lines of lacopone 
da Todi : — 

Vidit suum dulcem natum 
Morlentem, desolatum, 
Dum emisit spirltum. 

Let US, however, consider. In the ancient conception a 
Deity was a deathless being. It is the ''immortal gods" 

* Compare the phrase (2 Cor. iii, 6), "glory of God In person of Christ." 


that people Olympus and the whole literature of Greece and 
Rome as well as the records of Asia and Egypt. Accord- 
ingly, when the ancient thought had to deal with a dying 
god it encountered a very serious obstacle, something indeed 
like a contradiction in terms. How was this obstacle to be 
removed or surmounted, or at least circumvented ? Some 
more or less plausible artifice had to be adopted, and different 
minds would most probably adopt different devices. Perhaps 
the most obvious and most popular would be to say that the 
divinity assumed (put on as a garment) a mortal form, which 
he laid aside at the moment of apparent death. Precisely 
how this was done no one would inquire too curiously. It 
is enough that the ancient consciousness was perfectly 
familiar with the notion of a god clothing himself in the 
garment of humanity, or even of some lower form of mortality. 
It would offend the reader to cite instances, they are too 
numerous and too familiar ; but the lofty words of Pindar 
may be allowed us : " And then a lonely-faring god came 
suddenly upon us, having cast about him the shining 
semblance of a reverend man."' The Hebrew Scriptures 
also are replete with theophaniesy with apparitions of deity 
and of angels in the guise of men. Now it was precisely to 
some such device that the primitive Christians found them- 
selves driven when they sought to give pictorial expression 
to their grand ethical idea of a suffering and dying God. 
One of the most vivid statements is found in the Epistle to 
the Philippians (ii, 5-1 1), a remarkable passage : " Have this 
mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus : who being 
originally in the form of God counted it not a thing to be 
grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself, 
taking the form of a servant, becoming in likeness of men ; 
and being found in fashion as man, he humbled himself, 
becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross," 
etc. Here there is no notion whatever of human birth or 
human history or genuine humanity. The Divine Being 
Christ Jesus humbles himself, empties himself of his heavenly 
glory, takes the form of a slave, submits to the shameful 

* TOVTOLKL 5' oloTr6\o^ daifiup eTrijXdeVy (}>a.i.8iixav 'Av8pbs aldoiov wep 6^iv dr]Kd/j.€vos. 
— Py. iv, 50. 


death of the cross. But only in this human guise, and the 
momentary humiliation is followed by supreme exaltation. 
Plainly the writer seems thinking along lines parallel to 
Pindar's in the passage just quoted. A similar conception 
is found expressed weakly in Rom. xv, 3, more forcibly in 
2 Cor. viii, 9. 

35. A most remarkable hint of a related imagination is 
found in Mark xiv, 51, 52. As is elsewhere proved decisively 
(p. 112), the ''young man wrapped round about with linen," 
who was following along with (accompanying) Jesus, was a 
heavenly being, the guardian angel or angel-self, the divine 
nature of Jesus. This it was impossible for the soldiers to 
arrest ; it fled away, leaving behind in their possession only 
the linen, the glistening linen, the human flesh, like the 
''shining semblance" in which Pindar's Poseidon had robed 
himself. Even so early in the final action Mark found it 
proper to state in terms vocal to the intelligent that the 
passion of the Jesus was to be understood as in some sense a 
symbol, a sublime apparition. 

36. Turning now to Hippolytus, we find a luminous 
statement as to the faith of the Docetae {Ref., viii, 10) : 
" And he, descended from above, put on the begotten itself, 
and all things he did so as in the Gospels has been written ; 
he washed himself (dipping) into the Jordan ; washed, too, a 
type and seal having taken in the water, of the body born 
from the virgin, in order that, when the Archon should 
condemn his own proper figment to death, to the cross, that 
soul in the body nourished, having stripped off the body and 
nailed it to the wood, and having triumphed through it over 
the principalities and the powers, be not found naked, but put 
on the body that had been ectyped in the water when he was 
baptised, instead of that flesh." It matters not how fanciful 
we may regard this theorising ; the point is that it presents 
clearly and unmistakably a certain thought regarding the 
human semblance and the part it played in the crucifixion. 
This form sprung from the Virgin was indeed nailed to the 
cross ; but the soul, the true Jesus, was already clothed upon 
with another form impressed upon it in the act of baptism ; 
and when the "peculiar figment" {plasma) of flesh was 
crucified, the soul (the Jesus) stripped off the crucified figment, 


and, clothed on with the ectypal body received in baptism, it 
triumphed over all the principalities and powers leagued 
under the Archon' for its destruction. 

ZT' It is vain to say that this is only a very late figment 
of fancy. The passage just quoted, or at least its idea, with 
its form of expression, is older than Col. ii, 14, 15, as is 
elsewhere shown (p. 88, n.). In fact, the Colossian passage 
adopts the Docetic phrases, appropriates them to another use, 
and thereby makes them unintelligible. The doctrine above 
set forth may in its elaborated form very well be later than the 
Gospel, but it is manifest, and it is enough, that the central 
idea is one and the same — namely, that on the cross the true 
God, the Jesus, laid aside the form of flesh temporarily 
assumed, and escaped, whether as a naked (yvfivov) disem- 
bodied spirit or as clothed upon with an ectypal or spiritual 
body. That the ancient mind shrank from the notion of a 
naked (bodiless) spirit is seen clearly in i Cor. xv, where the 
Apostle argues so powerfully for a body for spirit as well as a 
body for soul; and also in 2 Cor. v, 1-4, where he deprecates 
being found naked (a bodiless spirit). , 

38. Such is the company of conceptions in which this 
pillar-passage finds its explanation ; and we see clearly that 
it testifies not at all to the historic reality of a man Jesus, but 
to the high-flown idea of a God who had transiently thrown 
round himself a vestment of flesh, which vestment he aban- 
doned on the cross, and thence ascended, flesh-unshrouded, 
triumphant to his native heaven. This idea seems natural, 
and almost necessary (at some stage of evolution), if, and 
only if, the primitive notion was of a God in some way 
appearing to men (even as Jehovah appeared in the Old 
Testament) ; but it is a confounding case of reversed genera- 
tion, of ''the child the father of the man," if we assume that 
the primitive notion was of Jesus a pure man, as contended 
by critical theology. It may not be superfluous to observe 
that the words (given by the MSS. in three principal forms — 
Hebrew, eli^ eli, lama zafthani; Aramaean, eloi^ eloi, lama 

* The same Archon (prince) so conspicuous in John : " Now the Archon of 
this world shall be cast out" (xii, 31); "Comes the Archon of the world" 
(xiv, 30), because "the Archon of this world has been judged" (xvi, 11) ; also 
mentioned in Ephesians: "The Archon of the power of the air" (ii, 2). 


sahachthani ; Hebrew-Aramaean, eliy eli, lama sahachthani) 
here ascribed to Jesus are taken from Psalm xxii, i, where 
they are heard as the cry of the Just and Persecuted (Israel). 
Their ascription to a deity who had emptied himself of glory 
and put on a cloak of suffering flesh seems no way strange — 
nor their utterance on the cross, since Plato had said the Just, 
thought unjust, would be crucified. That they did not jar 
with Mark's (and Matthew's) conception of Jesus as God we 
may be sure ; for, had they jarred, the way was wide open 
for him to leave them out — as did Luke, supplacing them 
with the more edifying prayer, "■ Father, into thy hands I 
commend my spirit"; and John, substituting the dramatic 
Tetelestai (it is finished); and the "Gospel of Peter," still 
more neatly altering eli (my God) into ejali (my strength). 
There is no reason to suppose that these three had more 
reverence for Jesus and less respect for his words than had 
Mark (or Matthew) ; it is only different preferences they 
display in theologising fiction. To the Docetic Mark 
(followed by Matthew) the cry seemed perfectly fitting, 
and almost demanded as fulfilment of Scripture ; had it not 
seemed so, never would he have imputed it to Jesus. The 
notion that tradition forced it upon him is baseless, and 
completely refuted by the procedure of Luke, John, and 

39. We come now to the deeds of the Jesus that are 
supposed to indicate his mere humanity. Of these the first 
is : (I) Mark vi, 5 ; Matthew xiii, 58 : " And he could not 
there do any deed of might, save that, having laid his hands 
on a few invalids, he healed them ; and he marvelled at their 
unbelief." Apparently it is thought that only a man could 
have this power limited by another's unbelief, and that only 
of a man would such a limitation be reported. Professor 
Schmiedel says this took place "in Nazareth," but Mark and 
Matthew declare only that "he came into his fatherland,"^ 
which decidedly does not signify Nazareth. The meaning of 
the whole passage is clear, and need give no great trouble. 
The " fatherland " {patris) is, apparently, Jewry, Israel, the 
Jewish people — specifically the Palestinian Jews. When the 

* e^j r^j/ irarpida avTov. 


Jesus-cult came to them it encountered, and has always 
encountered, persistent opposition. Among them it has 
done no deeds of might, for they will not believe. " A few 
weak ones " have accepted it, but the strong body of the race 
has steadily rejected it. The passage hints nothing whatever 
about the humanity of the Jesus, but it exhibits the Jesus-cult 
as triumphant among the Gentiles and despised by the Jews. 
Also it represents, and very properly represents, the progress 
of the cult and its triumph as dependent upon the faith with 
which it is received. Precisely as we should expect. 

40. (II) Mark viii, 12 (Matthew xii, 39; xvi, 4; Luke 
xi, 29) : " Why doth this generation seek a sign ? Amen I 
say to you if there shall be given to this generation a sign " 
(" but the sign of Jonah, the prophet " — " but the sign of 
Jonah" — ** but the sign of Jonah "). It is not the word, but 
rather the deed of the Jesus disclaiming thaumaturgy or sign- 
giving, that the critic regards as clearly indicating humanity, 
even modest humanity. The sign of Jonah is taken as the 
preaching of Jonah. In proof we are referred to ''the 
immediate sequel — * the men of Nineveh repented at the 
preaching of Jonah.'" But of all this the explanation lies 
on the open hand. It is the Jesus-cult that is wonderfully 
successful ; the Gentiles far and near are falling away from 
their idol-worship and receiving the '* new teaching"; they 
are repenting even as the people of Nineveh repented. This 
is, indeed, the one and only sign that the Jesus gives that 
marks the progress of his cult among the nations. But did 
he not cast out demons? Assuredly ! But this preaching of 
the " new doctrine," this conversion of the heathen, was 
casting out demons, was cleansing lepers, was healing the 
sick, the lame, the blind, was raising the dead. Once more 
there is nothing to be found in the passage but the strongest 
confirmation of the interpretation herein championed and 

41. In close connection with the foregoing stands (III) 
Matthew xi, 5 (Luke vii, 22), the answer to the Baptist : 
" (the) blind look up, and (the) lame walk about, lepers are 
cleansed, and (the) deaf hear, and (the) dead are raised, and 
(the) poor evangelised. And blessed is whoever is not 
offended in me." Professor Schmiedel is impressed with 


the fact " that all the miracles mentioned have taken place, 
either at an earlier date, or before the eyes of the Baptist's 
messengers. All the more remarkable therefore is it that the 
list should close with what is not a miracle at all. It would 
be impossible to counteract the preceding enumeration more 
effectually than by the simple insertion of this final clause. 
The evangelists therefore cannot have added it of their own 
proper motion. Neither could Jesus have neutralised the 
force of his own words — if we assume miracles to be intended 
— in such an extraordinary way. On the other hand the 
clause in question fits admirably, if Jesus was speaking not 
of the physically but of the spiritually blind, lame, leprous, 
deaf, dead. This is the meaning, too, which these words 
actually have in the Old Testament passages, Isaiah xxxv, 5/./ 
Ixi, I, which lie at the root of this ; and it also fits very well 
the continuation in Matthew xi, 6 ; Luke vii, 23, which reads, 
* Blessed is he who is not offended in me' (i.e,^ 'in my 
unpretentious simplicity). Here, therefore, we have a case, 
as remarkable as it is assured, in which a saying of Jesus, 
though completely m^isunderstood^ has been — in its essence at 
least — incorporated with verbal accuracy in the Gospels." 

42. To do no possible injustice, we have quoted in full the 
argument on this important passage. It contains much that 
seems to be entirely just. We have italicised what appear to 
be the unwarranted statements. Professor Schmiedel seems 
to err in supposing the evangelists have misunderstood any- 
thing. They have used the terms "blind," "lame," "leper," 
" deaf," " dead," " poor," throughout in their proper spiritual 
sense, and perfectly consciously. They meant no physical 
miracles whatever, and they have quite correctly summed-up 
the situation in the climacteric, " the poor are evangelised " 
— that is, the Gospel is proclaimed to the poor heathen — a 
bold and beautiful characterisation of the primitive propa- 
ganda. The passage is quite self-consistent throughout. 
The " unpretentious simplicity " is simply a fancy. No 
matter how you interpret the Gospels, the Jesus was neither 
simple nor unpretentious,^ The meek and lowly Jesus exists 
only in the imaginations of modern Christians. But the 

* See Addendum, p. 226. 


phrase ''whoso is not offended in me" is most significant. 
What about the Jesus could give offence, could cause one to 
stumble at accepting him ? Manifestly not simplicity, not 
unpretentiousness. One thing, and one thing only — his 
half-heathen origin, the fact that the " new doctrine " sprang 
up, not on the sacred soil of Judasa, not in the bosom of the 
strict Pharisaic or priestly party, not under the sacred shadow 
of the temple, but far away in the Dispersion, among the 
Gentiles ; there the great light arose in the deep dark of the 
nations ; ' and at this fact Israel has always stumbled. It 
seems, then, that this celebrated passage testifies openly in 
favour of our contention. Very noteworthy is the use of the 
term ''the Christ" (xi, 2), but we are not at present concerned 
with its implications. 

43. (IV) Lastly, we come to the misunderstanding of the 
disciples concerning the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees, 
Mark viii, 14-21 (Matthew xvi, 5-12; Luke xii, i) : ''Take 
heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of 
Herod" (in Matthew, "and of the Sadducees"; in Luke, 
simply "of the Pharisees"). The pith of Professor Schmiedel's 
reasoning seems to be disclosed in two sentences : " Both 
evangelists have previously related the feeding of the 5,000 
and the 4,000 as facts ^ He then goes on to show that only 
on assuming that the " feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000 was 
not an historical occurrence, but a parable," does the language 
of the Jesus become intelligible ; and then continues : " It is 
exceedingly surprising, yet at the same time evidence of a 
reproduction of earlier materials, that Mark and Matthew 
should give the present narrative at all — a narrative which 

^ So declares Origen {C. Cels. vi, 66) in a passage too important not to 
quote : "And to this we will reply, that all sit in darkness and are rooted 
therein who gaze on the wicked handiwork of the painters and moulders and 
sculptors, nor will look aloft and ascend in thought from all things sensible 
and visible unto the Demiurge of all things, who is Light ; but everyone is in 
light that has followed the beams of the Logos, who has shown through what 
ignorance and impiety and unlearnedness concerning the Divine these things 
were worshipped instead of God, and has led the mind of him that would be 
saved unto the God unbegotten and over all. ' For the people that sat in 
darkness ' — the Gentiles — ' saw a great light, and for them that sat in the 
region and shadow of death a light arose ' — the God Jesus (6 deh^ 'Ii/croOs)." 
Surely the chief of Church Fathers here indicates with all desirable clear- 
ness the two hinges of Proto-Christianity : its Aim — the Salvation of men 
(especially Gentiles) from ignorance of God and the consequent sin of idol- 
worship with all its attendant vice ; its Means — the monotheistic cult of Jesus, 
the Doctrine of the Divine Logos, of "The God Jesus." 


in their understanding of the miracle of the feeding is so 
meaningless." Again we have italicised the few words to 
which we must except. Of course, we cannot say who first 
misunderstood the symbolic narrative of the feeding,' but no 
evidence has been produced that Mark and Matthew mis- 
understood it, or that they related these feedings "as facts." 
This prop removed, the argument in the Encyclopcedia Bihlica 
falls to the ground. The whole passage remains somewhat 
mysterious ; but we are not logically responsible for clearing 
it up perfectly. It is enough for our purposes to recognise 
distinctly that it contains nothing to recommend the notion 
either that the Jesus was a mere man, or that the earliest 
compilers conceived of him as such. 


44. Herewith, then, the Nine Pillars have been disinte- 
grated. Not one of them bears witness for the accepted 
critical position, while some of them bear eloquent witness 
directly against it. But this collapse and crumbling of these 
pillars means far more than merely that these particular 
supports have dissolved into dust. For these were the 
chosen passages on which the scholar and critic had rested 
and risked his case, and but for which he would regard that 
case as hopeless.^ They supplied him the most plausible 
arguments that he could find, the least equivocal indications 
that he could discover anywhere in the Gospels. And these 
elect witnesses, on cross-examination, produce testimony that 
is either entirely negative or else positively contradictory of 
the idea in whose interest they were called into court. When 
these witnesses thus turn coat, where shall we find any in the 
Gospels that will remain firm? The answer is, "Nowhere." 
There are no texts in the Gospels that indicate that the Jesus 
was a man. Of course, he is represented as speaking, as 

^ Nor who last, for Schmiedel has himself g-one slightly astray. It cannot be 
" that the bread with which one man in the wilderness was able to feed a vast 
multitude signifies the teaching with which he satisfied their souls " (Schmiedel). 
No man can point anywhere to any such soul-satisfying teaching hy Jesus. On 
the contrary, the bread distributed hy the Disciples to the multitude is the 
teaching hy the Disciples concerning the Jesus, John's interpretation is essen- 
tially correct (vi, 32^). 

' See quotation, p. 2iZ' 


going from place to place, even as sleeping and (in a trans- 
parent parable) as hungering, as working wonders, as being 
surrendered, arrested, tried, condemned, executed, buried, 
raised again. But all this is only imagery ; it is but the 
linen cloth that is wrapped round about the divine form of 
the " new teaching"; it is but the historisation of a system 
of religious ideas. The deep thinkers who invented these 
parables and symbols were perfectly conscious of the inner 
sense, and so were the first who heard them, and repeated 
them, and wrote them down. 

45. Yea, this consciousness survived keen and clear for 
generations, at least in many groups of Christians. In the 
first quarter of the second century (according to current 
chronology), perhaps two hundred and fifty years after the 
first secret propaganda begun, we find that the fiery Ignatius 
has his heart set on a strict historic interpretation of the 
Gospel, at least in its main features, and he fiercely denounces 
such as oppose him. He has the ardent zeal of one that is 
advancing something comparatively new, not the calm con- 
fidence of a conservative upholding the old. In Justin 
Martyr somewhat later we find the contentions of the 
historisers epitomised in a formula that very strongly 
suggests the Apostles' Creed. In Irenasus and Tertullian, 
at the close of the second century, we find the historisers 
battling valiantly against all the more ancient forms of 
Christian thought, and vehemently denouncing them as 
heresies of recent growth. The absurdity of their contention 
is apparent on its face, and yet they succeeded in their strife 
over much more spiritual and high-minded antagonists. 
For anyone who reads with impartial sense the works of the 
heresy-hunters must perceive that Marcion, Basilides, Valen- 
tinus, and many others, were far superior to their denouncers 
in all the loftier qualities of religious intuition and theological 
speculation. Hereby it is not denied that these noble 
Gnostics, to whom the illustrious Harnack concedes that we 
owe so" much, were too often visionary and hopelessly 
fantastic in their daring constructions. Their speculations 
were dreamy, phantasmagoric, and full of emptiness, not 
adapted to the general social and religious conditions of the 
time. No wonder that they went under in the struggle with 


the concrete matter-of-fact historisations of Irenasus, Tertul- 
lian, and the rest. We need not regret that they failed, for 
they had run off into all manner of extravagance, and did not 
deserve to succeed. Nevertheless, we owe them an incalcul- 
able debt of gratitude, for without their indications it might 
have been impossible ever to discover the original sense and l, 
spirit of the Christian propaganda, so overladen as it now is Ij 
with the millennial growth of degenerate historisation. This, '^' 
however, is a digression from which we hasten to return. 

46. In closing let attention once more be called to the 
heavy obligations under which Professor Schmiedel has 
placed historical criticism by his sharp and accurate formula- 
tion of the logical conditions of the problem in hand. By 
disclosing and signalising the strongholds of the prevalent 
critical opinion, he has rendered it possible to join issue 
precisely and definitely, to grapple in hand-to-hand struggle, 
and to bring the battle to an unambiguous result. As long 
as defenders of the historicity content themselves with vague 
intangible rhapsodies on the imposing personality of the 
Jesus, wherein no two exhibit delineations that bear any 
recognisable resemblance either to each other or to the 
Gospel original, so long even the most vigorous and rigorous 
counter-dialectic must in some measure prove to be merely 
buffeting the air. Of what avail to smite down such cloud- 
forms that like the ghost of Loda fall shapeless into mist, 
only to gather themselves together again and resume their 
voice of thunder and shake their dusky spears? But in the 
case of Schmiedel's Pillars we encounter something real, 
tangible, close-reasoned, and subtly excogitated. For these 
columns to stand means for the historic conception of the 
Jesus to become a permanent possession of the human spirit, 
inalienable and indefectible. For them to fall and crumble, 
as we have seen them do, means the passing of the present 
structure of Christianity, and the substitution therefor of an 
older, a sublimer, and a more spiritual temple. 


Der Erdensohne, 


Baue sie wieder. 

In deinem Busen baue sie auf ! 



Supplementing § 17. 

In Luke ii, 52, we read that "Jesus advanced in wisdom and 
stature and in favour with God and men." Professor 
Schmiedel was too cautious or astute to number this passage 
among his ground-pillars ; but his able disciple, Dr. Arno 
Neumann — who is deeply touched by "the simple, sober, 
naive facts of history as we find them in the " Synoptic 
" Gospels " — has not shown such foresight. With it he 
heads his list (otherwise agreeing with Schmiedel's) of 
" Statements which can be nothing more nor less than 
survivals of the truth, precious fragments," etc., and he adds : 
" Had the writer been a worshipper of Jesus as a deity, he 
would have presented him to us as full-grown " {Jesus^ p. 10). 
This, too, is a "precious fragment" exemplifying the habits 
of distinguished critics ; it is, indeed, invaluable for the 
purposes of our argument. One or two features seem to 
call for careful inquisition. 

Dr. Neumann is sure that "a worshipper of Jesus as a 
deity would have presented him to us as full-grown." But 
how can he be so sure ? Are not the stories of the gods, 
stories invented by their worshippers, full of accounts of 
birth and childhood? Has Dr. Neumann forgotten Bacchus 
and Zeus ? Does not Pindar tell us how Leto steadied with 
her holy foot the vagrant island of Delos, and made it broad 
earth's immovable marvel, and there brought forth to light 
and looked upon her blessed brood ? And does anyone 
doubt that Pindar worshipped Apollo and Artemis as deities ? 
The stories of the birth and childhood of the Jesus are quite 
in line with other theogonies invented by the ancients, all 
of whom worshipped these prodigious births as deities. 

Observe well, however, that these stories in Matthew and 
Luke do not belong to the earliest narrative. It is recognised 
on all hands that they are late accretions ; they are the full 
flower and almost the ripened fruit of the humanising 
tendency that has wrought such wreck with the original 


doctrine of the Jesus. To adduce them or any part of them 
as examples of the primitive Evangelic conception is a notable 
critical procedure. Perhaps it would have been worthier of 
the new deity to be introduced on the stage in the full flush 
of heavenly power, without any enfeebling suggestions of 
earthly parentage. And this is precisely what Mark does 
(i, 1-3) : " Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ : even as / 
is written in Isaiah the Prophet, Lo I send mine Angel ^ 
before thy face, who shall prepare thy way ; voice of a crier, 
* in the wilderness make ready the way of the Lord, straight 
make his paths.' " It is the Lord (Jehovah) that comes, and 
comes in might. Similarly the Fourth Evangelist, striking 
a keynote less highly poetic, but more deeply philosophic. 
It is only Matthew and Luke that yield to the weakness of 
human nature, and open the gate for the tiresome procession 
of Gospels^ of the_ Infancy. On account of the hardness of 
our hearts they did this, but from the beginning it was not so. 

This verse, with which Dr. Neumann precedes the 
Schmiedelian list, is in fact a striking illustration of the 
process whereby the whole evangelic and apocryphal history 
has come into being. At first, as in Mark's narrative, there 
was little thought of humanising the divine figure introduced 
upon the stage. Still, if there was to be any historisation, 
dramatisation, or symbolisation at all of the great ideas that 
seethed in the mind of the Evangelist, then the principle of 
Xenophanes had to be followed ; the Deity had to be repre- 
sented as a man — as speaking, walking, sleeping, doing 
deeds of might, and at last even dying. Similarly, though 
even in still less degree, in the earliest collection of Sayings 
(Logoi, Logia) of the Jesus, he is of necessity represented as 
human, as speaking. A Saying was regularly introduced by 
the phrase "The Jesus says," or the like. This was exactly 
parallel with the customary preamble of the prophets : " Thus 
saith Jehovah," "Oracle of Jehovah," etc., and, in fact, 
presents the Jesus as a new Jehovah, or at least as a pro- 
Jehovah, the conception that reigns throughout early 
Christian literature. 

Gradually and most naturally the artistijc feeling asserted 
itself more and more, and dramatic situations were devised 
and then elaborated as settings for the Sayings, which them- 



selves underwent great development and expansion. Of this 
process the Fourth Gospel furnishes perfect illustrations. At 
the same time or later there made itself felt the universal 
tendency to humanise unnecessarily ^ and even unreasonably ; 
to attribute to the God the passions and even the weaknesses 
of man, and especially to accent the pathetic and the sympa- 
thetic. Thus the Fourth Evangelist insists that Jesus loved, 
and even that he wept ; while the late accounts of Matthew 
and Luke, profaning the sacred reserve of Mark (i, 13), inform 
\ us that he fasted, and afterwards hungered. Last and least 
pardonable, though perfectly natural, are the stories of birth, 
infancy, and childhood. After the humanising process had 
I triumphed over the solemn and awful divinity of the original 
^conception, it was inevitable that human fancy should ask 
and should answer the questions: How was he begotten? 
How born? How nourished? What wonders glorified his 
early years? In all of this development we recognise the 
most familiar workings of human nature. " Of all things 
the measure is man," said Protagoras ; in all ages man 
himself has been the canon that he has laid upon the universe, 
whereby he has meted, interpreted, and constructed it in 



The perception that the demons of the New Testament 
are the heathen gods, and that casting them out means 
overthrowing the prevailing idolatry by the introduction of 
the Jesus-cult, is so fundamentally important, and even 
essential to a proper understanding of the original sense of 
the Gospel, that it may be well to look at it still more narrowly 
than has thus far been done.' 

* It is gratifying to observe that on pp. \%o ff. of his acute and learned 
work, De groote Vraag {igii), Professor Bolland has expressed himself in 
full accord with the views herein set forth, as well as with the interpretation 
of the Rich One as the symbol of Jewry. If the philosopher of Leiden has 


The census of the uses of ^aijuoviov (demon, devil) in the 
New Testament appears at first glance rather formidable. 
It recurs in Matthew eleven times, in Mark thirteen, in Luke 
twenty-three, in John six, in Acts one, in i Corinthians four 
(x, 20, 21), in I Timothy one, in James one, in Revelation 
three. Besides, Matthew has ^aifxoviZofxai (have a demon) 
seven times, Mark four, Luke one, John one (x, 21). Quite 
equivalent seems to be the expression unclean or evil spirit 
{irvevfia aKadaprov or irovripov) recurrent in Matthew four times, 
in Mark twelve, in Luke nine, in Acts six (v, 16; viii, 7; xix, 
12, 13, 15, 16), in Revelation two (xvi, 13 ; xviii, 2). Besides, 
we have ^aifxwv (demon) once (Matthew viii, 31), and divining 
spirit {irvevfjLa 7rvdu)va) once (Acts xvi, 16). Hence the 
idea may be said to occur in Matthew about twenty-three 
times, in Mark twenty-eight, in Luke thirty-three, in John 
seven, in Acts seven, with a few scattering and unimportant 
uses in i Corinthians, i Timothy, James, and Revelation. 
Practically it is confined to the Synoptics, for the Johannine 
uses all refer to the charge of having a demon^ brought against 
the Jesus (yW^ 20; viii, 48, 49, 52; x, 20, 21). The notion 
of casting out demons, the real matter in hand, does not 
occur in John. All the more conspicuous is it in the 
Synoptics ; but here again we find something remarkable : 
all the references to demons and unclean spirits belong to 
the Galilean, none whatever to the Jud^an, ministry of the 
Jesus. The last appearance of such a term in Matthew is 
at xvii, 18, after the Transfiguration ; in Mark at ix, 38, in 
Capernaum ; in Luke at xiii, 32, apparently in Galilee, 
"journeying toward Jerusalem" (verse 22). Here there is 
something that calls for explanation. The cases of possession 
and of exorcism in Galilee have been countless ; in Judaea 
there are none at all. Can it be that epileptic lunacy and 
nervous disorders prevailed so amazingly in Galilee, but 
found no material in Judsea? Certainly not; for it is an 
ethnological fact that the Jews are specially subject to such 
distempers, though otherwise uncommonly vigorous and 

reached such results independently of this book, which he has read carefully 
and elsewhere cites repeatedly in its German form, but not on pp. 180^, then 
this coincidence affords a very strong confirmation of the correctness of the 
views in question. 


healthy. There is one and only one explanation of this curious 
evangelic distinction between these two adjoining regions : 
the maladies in question were spiritual maladies that afflicted 
whole multitudes in Galilee of the Gentiles, but not the Jews 
in Jud^a ; they were the maladies of false religion, of demon- 
worship, of Paganism.' 

Let it not be supposed for a moment that I would deny 
there were epileptics, lunatics, maniacs, neurasthenics, both in 
Galilee and in Judaga. Of course, there were, and are, and 
will be. Moreover, the symbolist, having once determined 
to represent Polytheism, that multiform aberration of the 
human mind, as possession by a demon, both naturally and 
well-nigh inevitably drew the features of his description from 
his own observation, or at least knowledge, of the course of 
such attacks in noteworthy patients. 

Of course, the ancients had the idea of one's being under 
the power of a Daemon, though it was expressed by ^aijULovau) 
rather than by ^aijioviZo^aL, which properly means to be 
doomed, or else deified. But that any such afflictions over- 
whelmed the multitudes of Galilee, or that the Evangelist 
intended to represent the multitudes as so afflicted, seems 
quite impossible. 

It is most remarkable that, although this casting out of 
demons is represented in the Gospels (and even in their echo 
in Acts X, 38) as the main activity of the Jesus, though it is 
the principal power he bestowed on the Apostles, yet we never 
hear of its exercise. The passages in Acts (v, 16 ; viii, 7 ; 
xix, 12) are the vaguest and merest generalities — symbolic 
phrases without any specific historic content. It cannot be 
that an activity of such supreme significance during the life 
of the Jesus, and of special endowment conferred on his 
successors, should cease immediately and permanently, not 

^ According- to Keim (iii, 53 ; see p. infra), at Jericho the curative energy of 
Jesus was at it? heig-ht, "in might as a flame of fire"; but Bacon {The Begin- 
nings of Gospel Story, p. 146) thinks this flame had sunk low, even to extinction, 
when the Jesus journeyed southward from GaUlee. '* The course of events, 
therefore, does not imperatively demand the rekindling- in this sporadic 
instance of the flame of Jesus' healing- power, so far from the scenes of its 
original activity." That is, one degree's depression of the pole annihilated 
the miraculous might of the Saviour ! And precisely where Keim found the 
wonder-working powers of the Jesus at their acme, precisely there Bacon finds 
them quenched and pulseless I 


upon his death, but even before, upon his entrance into 
Judcea. Had the treatment of such diseases been any part 
of the activity of the Apostles, we should certainly have 
heard of it, both in Acts and in the Epistles. 

What, then, is the explanation ? It is very simple — 
namely : The Synoptists are poets and symbolists, but the 
authors of the rest of the New Testament have definitely laid 
aside that symbolism. They chose to state the propaganda 
in more direct, literal, and unmetaphorical terms, and less 
under the veil of symbolic language. Very rarely, as in 
the cases mentioned, the author of Acts drops back for a 
moment into the symbolic phraseology of the Synoptists. 

We may feel sure, then, that the primitive preachers did 
not exorcise, and did not pretend to do so. It is a great 
relief to know that our noble religion did not have as its 
primal form of activity the magical and temporal alleviation 
of the condition of hopeless defectives. That a religion that 
made such charlatanry one of its main features could conquer 
the intelligence of the Roman Empire stands greatly in need 
of proof. Herewith it is not forgotten that even Schmiedel 
has sought to show that such healing of demoniacs prevailed 
in the early days of the Church; and it is not denied that 
some enthusiasts may sometimes have undertaken some such 
cure, and even, under imaginable conditions, with partial or 
apparent success. Such exceptional cases, sometimes hard 
or impossible to understand, may occasionally be constated. 
But that they cut practically no figure in the elder Church is 
the thing that is plainest to see from Schmiedel's own testi- 
monies. Let us hear them in detail. 

Schmiedel says {E, B., "Gospels," § 144) : — 

According to Mark vi, 5 / (see § 140^ [which we have already con- 
sidered, p. 201]), we are to understand that Jesus healed where he 
found faith. This power is so strongly attested throughout the first 
and second centuries that, in view of the spiritual greatness of Jesus 
and the imposing character of his personality [all of which is 
imaginary], it would be indeed difficult to deny it to him. Even the 
Pharisees do not deny his miracles of healing [only " casting out 
demons " is mentioned in the texts], though they traced them to a 
compact [?] with Beelzebub (Mark iii, 22 ; Matthew ix, 34, xii, 24 ; 
Lukexi, 15). According to Matthew xii, 27= Luke xi, 19, the disciples 
of the Pharisees also wrought such miracles [Jewish proselytism ?] ; 


the man who followed not with the disciples of Jesus cast out devils 
[but only "In thy name "] (Mark Ix, 38-40=Luke Ix, 49/.) ; the same Is 
said of those whom in Matthew vil, 22/., Jesus rejects In his final judg- 
ment [these, too, " cast out demons " "in thy name" — i.e., overthrew 
idolatry by preaching the Jesus-cult]. Paul asserts that a like power 
was possessed by himself (2 Cor. xil, 12 ; Romans xv, 19) and by 
other Christians ( I Cor. xii, 8-1 1, 28); Justin mentions castlngs-out 
of devils {ApoL 26, Dial. 30, 35, 39, 76, 85) ; so also Tertullian 
{Apol. 23), Irenaeus (li, 31 /, Eus. H.E. 5 ), and Quadratus (Eus. 
^•E., iv, 3,). 

Then in a footnote : — 

As for Josephus, cp. B.J. ii, 8g, vli, 63, Ant. Ill, 11 3, vIII, 2^, and 
c.Ap. I31 ; for Pliny, N.H. 3O2 ; for Luclan, PhiJops. 16 J. Accord- 
ing to Tacitus {Hist. 451), Vespasian effected several wonderful cures 
(cp. above, col. 1456). 

Certainly a formidable array of authorities, which might 
indeed be greatly lengthened. We need consider only the 
supposed testimonies to literal casting-out of demons. So far 
as the Gospels are concerned, the remarks we have inserted in 
brackets [ ] are sufficient to show that there is no such testi- 
mony at all ; the passages are far more naturally understood of 
the banishing of idolatry by preaching the Jesus. As to Paul, 
we have already seen that he is never named in connection 
with such exorcism, nor does he ever name it. The first 
passage cited (2 Cor. xii, 12) merely declares: ''Truly the 
signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, 
by signs and wonders and powers." In Romans xv, 19 
(which I have proved [see J. B. Z., 1901, 129-157 ; 1902, 
1 17-169] to be a late accession to the epistle), the language 
is still vaguer — "in the power of signs and wonders." 
There is no hint of exorcism. 

In I Cor. xii, 8-1 1, various "gifts of the Spirit" are 
mentioned, among them "gifts of healing"; also in verse 28, 
"gifts of healing" — in both cases without further specifica- 
tion. Plainly nothing can be inferred. 

Leaping now over nearly one hundred years of silence, 
in Justin's ApoL 26 we read : " That also after the ascent of 
Christ to heaven the demons sent forth certain men claiming 
themselves to be gods who not only were not persecuted by 
you, but were even adjudged worthy of honours : as a certain 
Simon, a Samaritan from a village called Gittas, who under 


Claudius Csesar by the art of inworking demons, having 
wrought magic powers in your city royal Rome, was 
esteemed a god and was honoured by you as a god with a 
statue, which statue was erected in the Tiber river between 
two bridges, bearing this Roman inscription : To Simon 
God Holy (Simoni Deo Sancto)." On this it seems enough 
to remark, in the first place, that it hints nothing about 
casting out demons, and even if it did it would prove 
nothing, for Justin here condemns himself unappealably. 
The real inscription was : Semoni Sanco Deo. Fidio Sacrum 
Sex. Pompeius. S. P. F. Col. Mussianus Quinquennalis 
Decur Bidentalis Donum. Dedit. 

This Semo, whom Justin mistakes for Simon, was a 
Sabine god of oaths or compacts ('^sancus a sanciendo"), 
hence also called " Fidius a fide," and had no more to do 
with Simon Magus than with Simon Peter. Most of all, 
however, it is perfectly plain that Justin himself considers 
demons the same as false gods. 

This fact is fully confirmed by the next proof-text, 
Dial, 30 : "' For from the demons, which are alien from the 
worship of God, whom formerly we adored, we pray God 
always to be preserved through Jesus Christ, that after 
conversion to God we may be blameless through him. For 
him we call Helper and Redeemer, at the might even of 
whose name even the demons tremble, and to-day being 
exorcised by the name of Jesus Christ the Crucified under 
Pontius Pilate, who was procurator of Judaea, they are 
subdued ; so that also from this it is evident to all that his 
Father has given him such power that even the demons are 
subdued by his name and the dispensation of his passion." 
Clearly Justin identifies the demons with the heathen gods, 
and if he means aught else by the exorcism and subduing of 
these demons to the name of Jesus than the downfall of 
heathen deities before the preaching of the Jesus, it is only 
by a late misapplication of the old familiar phrase "casting 
out demons "or ''subjecting demons to the Jesus." Mani- 
festly the passage cannot be quoted as witnessing the reality 
of any such exorcism. 

The next citation {DiaL 35) does not mention demons, 
but only "the powers that even now proceed from his name," 


whereon it seems quite needless to dwelL Neither does the 
next {Dial. 39), but merely speaks of one having the spirit 
of healing (6 Sc mo-twc)? perhaps glancing at the passage in 
I Cor. xii, 8-1 1. 

In Dial. 76 : '* And now we that believe on the Jesus, our 
Lord crucified under Pontius Pilate, have all the demons 
and evil spirits subdued to us, exorcising them." Remember 
that Justin has clearly identified these demons with the 
heathen gods, and you perceive that this passage is at most 
a rhetorical flourish. Had anyone pressed the Martyr for 
an illustration, he might have referred to some conversion in 
which indeed some heathen demon-god was overthrown and 
cast out by the power of the Jesus (-cult). 

Lastly {Dial. 85) : *' For by the name of him, this Son of 
God and first begotten of all creation, and born of a virgin 
and made passible man and crucified under Pontius Pilate 
by your people, who died and rose from (the) dead and 
ascended into heaven, every demon exorcised is conquered 
and subdued. But if you exorcise by every name of those 
among you that have been kings, or just, or prophets, or 
patriarchs, none of the demons will be subdued ; but if, 
however, anyone of you exorcise by the God of Abraham 
and God of Isaac and God of Jacob, perhaps it will be 
subdued. But already I have said that your exorcists, by 
using the art as do the Gentiles, exorcise and use fumigations 
and magic ties." I have quoted this long passage because 
it is the strongest in Schmiedel's list, and because it shows 
the Apostles' Creed in process of formation. On the great 
significance of this latter this is not the place to enlarge. 

Now it must not be supposed for a moment that the 
present writer denies or calls in question the bare fact of 
exorcism at the period under consideration. The word itself 
is a witness to the fact, and as such is unimpeachable. Yea, 
more, the immense magic literature of the old faiths, the 
countless incantations and conjurations, bear unequivocal 
testimony. Chief of all, certain passages to which the writer 
has called repeated attention show decisively that the names 
"Jesus" and ''Nasarya" were actually used as names of 
deities in conjurations at an extremely early date in the 
beginning of Christianity. In fact, the very phrase, " In the 


name of Jesus," bears sure witness, as Heitmueller has so 
admirably set forth, to the use of that great name as a magic 
spell. That it should have been used for exorcisms of demons 
as well as for other purposes is antecedently probable, and may 
be fully conceded.^ In view of this state of the case, it seems 
not unlikely that Justin's formula, rapidly expanding into the 
Apostles' Creed, may have been actually pronounced at some 
exorcisms, especially as we know that the spell was thought 
to be strengthened by such quasi-historical recitals. Thus 
Origen (C. Cels,^ I, vi) : "For they seem not to prevail by 
enchantments, but by the name of Jesus after the recital of 
the stories concerning him." 

On the other hand, this very formula has become the 
creed of the Church, a ceremony of admission to the Church 
itself. So this expulsion of demons is again clearly seen to 
stand in the most intimate relations with the renunciation of 
paganism and the adoption of the Jesus-cult. That such 
must have been at least the controlling sense and use among 
Christians appears quite manifest from this consideration, 
that it could have been used at most only in a few compara- 
tively exceptional cases of exorcism of demoniacs, whereas 
it must have been used in thousands of thousands of cases of 
conversion from paganism. Even then, when we allow all 
possible force to these words of Justin, they still fail to point 
towards actual possession and exorcism as a certain, or at 
\tdiSt prominent y fact in the early life of the Church ; they are 
found in connection with the formal renunciation of paganism 
and acceptance of Christianity. This was indeed an exorcism, 
but an exorcism in the New Testament sense, which we have 
already found necessary. 

* Inasmuch as the demon-worshipping idolater was conceived as in some 
sense possessed — i.e.^ under influence of his demon — it was natural for 
Christians, especially the more ignorant (as Origen testifies), to ascribe 
physical infirmities of idolaters to such possession ; hence it became quite 
as natural to speak of all manner of illness, especially mental, as completely 
healed by Jesus, at invocation of his name — i.e.^ by the all-saving monotheistic 
Jesus-cult. Hence such forms of conception and expression, no matter how 
frequent, stand not in discord but in concord with our understanding of New 
Testament exorcisms, whose essence is this : expulsion of demons by Jesus (and 
generally, later, in his name, by Christians) is to be understood only in the 
religious sense of conversion from polytheism, to the Jesus-cult. Compare 
I Cor. xii, 2, 3, where " being led away to dumb idols " stands in sharp 
contrast with saying "Jesus is Lord" — i.e., with confession, with conversion. 


In confirmation of this view we may make still further 
and decisive appeal to Justin himself; for the most important 
passage is not cited by Schmiedel, possibly because found in 
the Second Apology, 6 : " But Jesus has the name and signifi- 
cance both ot man and of Saviour. For also a man, as we 
said before, was he made, according to the counsel of the 
God and Father, brought forth for the sake of believing men 
and for dissolution^ of the demons." Here, then, the nature 
and mission of Jesus are defined. He is a Saviour, as the name 
indicates. From what does he save? From demons. Whom 
does he save? Believers. Here, then, all doubt appears set 
at rest. It is quite impossible to understand this salvation of 
believers from demons as referring to the cure of a few 
sporadic demoniacs. Justin is defining the general signifi- 
cance of the Jesus as saviour, and he defines it as for the sake 
of believers and for the overthrow of the demons. It seems 
certain that this must mean the conversion of heathen 
idolaters to the Jesus-cult. Now notice the remarkable 
terms in which he further specifies and describes such 
conversion : " And now you can learn from what takes 
place under your own eyes. For many possessed by demons 
throughout the whole world and in your city, many of our 
men, the Christians, exorcising by the name of Jesus Christ 
the Crucified under Pontius Pilate, by all the other exorcists 
and enchanters and magicians unhealed, have healed and 
still now heal, annulling and expelling the demons obsessing 
the men." 

Here the distinctive activity of the Christians is described 
as this expulsion of demons. That such, in the literal sense 
of the words, could have been the technical and professional 
calling of Christians in Rome near the middle of the second 
century appears incredible. There was but one thing that 
could have been ascribed to them as their peculiar vocation, 
and that was the conversion of men to Christianity, to the 
worship of the Jesus. This, then, is the expulsion of demons, 
considered by the Martyr. The phrase *' not healed by all the 
other exorcists," etc., would seem to refer to the multitude of 
creeds and cults with which Rome abounded. 

' Or expulsion, eTri /caTaXj/cret = ad eversionem — Otto. 


Moreover, this notion and designation of heathen gods as 
demons is not occasional, but regular, and even universal in 
Justin. He declares them to be sons of wicked angels, to 
have the Devil, Satan, the Serpent as Prince, to demand 
victims and worship from evil livers, to enslave men, to 
appear under simulated forms and names preserved in fanes 
and temples, corrupting and affrighting by prodigies, to be 
called gods, each choosing his own name, to send forth 
heretics intent on turning men from God and Christ, to 
calumniate Christians, to flee from the power of men, and to 
be subdued by the name of Jesus. On nearly all these points 
Justin voices the general sentiment of the Christians. Nor 
was he unsupported in this matter by the heathen themselves, 
such as Porphyry, the bitter antagonist of Christianity. We 
may say, then, with renewed and augmented confidence that 
by the expulsion of demons Justin Martyr meant, in general, 
if not indeed in every case, the overthrow of polytheism by 
conversion to the worship of the Jesus. 

We pass now to the other authorities cited. In Tertullian^s 
Apologeticum (xxii, xxiii) we find set forth his ideas as to the 
pagan gods, demons, and evil spirits. Already in Cap. xxi 
he has defined the mission of Christ, not like Numa's, to 
temper boors and savages to humanity by frightening them 
with a multitude of gods to be propitiated, but to open to the 
knowledge of the truth the eyes of men already highly 
cultured and deceived by their very refinement {sed qui iavi 
expolitos et ipsa urbanitate deceptos in agnitioneTn veritatis 
ocularet). We must surely admire the largeness and justness 
of his view. It needs no argument that this means that 
Numa fulfilled his mission by the passing expedient of pagan 
worship, and this the Christ came to remove and abolish. 
Precisely so (as we have seen) thought Justin, who preferred 
the symbolic expression *^ dissolution of demons." Tertullian 
now proceeds (Cap. xxii) to declare : — 

And so we say there are certain spiritual substances. Nor is the 

name new. Philosophers know (there are) demons But how from 

certain angels corrupt of their own free will a more corrupt brood of 
demons issued, condemned of God with the authors of their brood 
and with him we called their chief (Satan), in the sacred Scriptures 

is set forth in order Their business is the ruin of man. So from 

the first, spiritual malice has been aimed at the downfall of man 


with various errors, whereof that Is the worst whereby It commends 

these gods to men's minds entrapped and ensnared Every spirit 

is winged, both angel and demon Their speed Is accounted 

divinity Or if both angels and demons do just what your gods 

do, where then is the pre-eminence of divinity? Is it not more 

reasonable to assume that it is they themselves (demons) who make 

themselves gods than that the gods are equals of angels and 

demons ? A difference of races is distinguished, I suppose, so that 

by their temples you esteem as gods whom elsewhere you call not 

gods But thus far, words ; now comes the demonstration of the 

thing Itself whereby we show the quality to be the same under either 
name. Let anyone be led out there before your tribunals, who, it Is 
settled, is driven by a demon. That spirit bidden speak by any 
Christian will confess of a truth himself a demon as elsewhere (he) 

falsely (confesses himself) a lord (god). Or let that same celestial 

Virgin (Carthaginian Juno?), promlser of showers, that same 
^sculapius, discoverer of medicines, ready to minister another day 
(of life) to moribund Socordlus and Tenatius and Asclepiodotus 
— unless not daring to lie to a Christian they confess themselves 
demons, shed on the spot the blood of that most insolent Christian. 

So it glimmers through the nebulous rhetoric of Ter- 
tullian that he held a god to be only a demon worshipped 
in a temple. Moreover, he declares that one possessed by a 
demon would confess himself a demon if interrogated by a 
Christian. The meaning of the closing passage is almost 
hopeless ; it may possibly refer to some incident of which 
we have no knowledge. Says Oehler : " I have restored by 
conjecture this passage almost desperate for the reason that 
to what story Tertullian is referring is absolutely unknown." 
Plainly no argument can rest on such a passage. Perhaps 
there was no such incident at all. TertuUian's boast that the 
possessed interrogated by a Christian would confess himself 
a demon perhaps means only that some person under some 
such conditions had been or might be converted to Chris- 
tianity, had renounced paganism and accepted the Jesus- 
cult. We must remember that Tertullian is a prince of 
rhetoricians, to whom plain, straightforward speech is almost 
impossible. After much more declamation, little to the point 
in this argument, he declares : " Why all our domination and 
power over them comes from nomination of Christ Fear- 
ing Christ in God and God in Christ, they are subdued to the 
servants of God and Christ." This seems to be only vague 
declamation, for which perhaps the only basis is the actual 


conversion to Christianity of zealous heathen devotees. We 
note that Tertullian claims nothing for himself personally, 
and attests nothing as of his own observation. Our suspicion 
is strengthened by his following remark : " Finally these 
testimonies of your gods are wont to make Christians ; in 
believing them as much as possible we believe in Christ the 
Lord." In view of Tertullian's notorious sacrifice of all else 
to oratorical effect, it seems hard to feel sure that he had in 
mind aught else but conversions, sometimes of neurasthenics, 
to Christianity. 

It may be remarked that his estimate of demons finds 
ample confirmation and reiteration in the pages of early 
Christian literature. Irenaeus (ii, 4, 6) declares that "all 
things are subject to the appellation of the Highest and 
Omnipotent ; and by invocation of it even before the coming 
of our Lord men were saved, both from spirits most vile, 

and all demons diverse, and every apostasy And as, 

though they have not seen him, nevertheless all things are 
subject to the name of our Lord (Jesus? or the Emperor?), 
so likewise (to) his who made all things and established 
(them) by a word, since no other is there than he who made 
the world. And therefore Jews even till now by this very 
adjuration put demons to flight, since all fear the invocation 
of him that made them." Here Irenaeus seems to have in 
mind the prophetic passage, " Whosoever shall call on the 
name of the Lord shall be delivered " (Joel ii, 32). Such 
invocation was an acknowledgment of the god invoked, 
hence it came to be associated intimately with conversion to 
his worship. However, Jewish magic and incantation are, 
of course, not hereby denied. But nothing is yet made out 
as to actual exorcisms, distinct from conversions, among 
early Christians. On turning to Schmiedel's reference 
(ii, 32, 4 ; Harvey, i, 375), we find the matter somewhat 
cleared up. Speaking of the spiritual gifts possessed by the 
Christians, he declares : '' For some drive out demons firmly 
and truly, so that often those cleansed from the evil spirits 
both believe and are in the church." 

Here, then, the secret seems to have escaped. The con- 
nection between casting out demons and converting to belief 
is set forth as so close and intimate that there seems hardly 


a doubt that the onQ is but a variant of the other. To be 
sure, Irenseus does say *' often," and does seem to make a dis- 
tinction ; but this is no more than we should expect : it is but a 
part of the general process of literalisation, of transforming 
spiritual symbols into material events, which he, along with 
" Ignatius," did so much to further, and which the Old Catholic 
Church has to thank in such large measure for its existence.^ 

In any case, this seems a very dangerous passage for 
Professor Schmiedel. At the most and best it could prove 
nothing for his cause, seeing that immediately after we read 
that '* even now" ''dead men were raised and remained with 
us for many years." Since he will certainly reject this state- 
ment as incredible, in spite of Harvey's note, what credence 
can he put in the immediately foregoing? 

Most illuminative in this connection is the following 
passage from the learned work of Carl Schmidt on Gnosiische 
Schriften in koptischer Sprache^ p. 510: ''This reminds us 
only too distinctly of the exorcisms which in the olden time 
played a highly significant role at Baptism, inasmuch as all 
candidates therefore were thought to be possessed of demons 
{Tduflinge)y^ in consequence whereof there was in fact a class 
of exorcists standing in high repute." In this deep descent 
from the serene heights of the primitive propaganda it 
seems impossible not to recognise the fact that Christianisa- 
tion was originally conceived as a casting-out-of-demons, as 
a conversion from paganism to the worship of the Jesus, the 

The fact is that the more spiritual Christians even of that 
day — commonly called Gnostics as a term of reproach, though 
Clemens of Alexandria calls the Christians Gnostics by way 
of honour — understood perfectly well that all these healings 
referred primarily and properly to diseases not of the body, 

^ Hence, indeed, the testimony of all such literalists, even if far more 
explicit, could really prove nothing against our thesis ; for at most it would 
attest only their interpretation of the New Testament text, but could never 
prove their interpretation to be correct. Understanding demon-expulsion, 
like the rest of the Gospels, literally, and recalling that the disciples were to 
do even greater deeds (John xiv, 12), it was almost positively necessary for 
them to bear some witness to such literal exorcisms. That their witness is 
nevertheless so extremely vague looks like a clear indication that there was 
really naught of the kind to witness at all. 

' Italics are the present writer's. 


but of the soul, and taught so explicitly. For their insight 
and their candour they received sharp rebuke at the hands of 
Irenaeus : " But so much they lack of raising the corpse, as 
the Lord raised, and the apostles by prayer, and often in the 

brotherhood for some necessity (they hold), however, that 

resurrection from the dead is recognition of the truth that is 
taught by them " (II, xxxi, 2 ; Harv., II, xlviii, 2). Similarly, 
but of course more violently, Tertullian, jDe Resurr.^ 19 : 
" Resurrection also of the dead, openly announced, they 
distort into an imaginary sense, averring that even death 
itself is to be understood spiritually." As at so many other 
points, modern thought here also rejects the orthodox and 
adopts the Gnostic interpretation. 

Professor Schmiedel next refers to Eus., H. E.^ v, 7. 
This, however, is only an imperfect quotation by Eusebius of 
the foregoing passage from Irenaeus, and hence cannot 
detain us. His next reference is also to Eusebius, H, E.y 
iv, 3, 2, a quotation by the historian from Quadratus' " Apology 
for our religion " addressed to ^lius Adrian. It declares 
only that " the works of our Saviour were always present, 
for they were genuine — those that were healed and those 

that were raised from the dead so that some of them lived 

even unto our day." Nothing is said of any other works but 
the Saviour's, and nothing is said about demons at all. 

The next citation is of Josephus, B, J,^ ii, 86, part of the 
famous description of the Essenes, but containing no allusion 
to demons or exorcisms or any kind of wonders. But it is 
said they search out medicinal roots and peculiarities of 
stones for treatment of diseases, which brings us to the 
following citation (B. y., vii, 63) — a trivial story of a kind of 
rue, large as a fig-tree, that had lasted from the time of 
Herod, and would have lasted much longer had it not been 
cut down ; and of a root called Baaras, from its place of 
growth, in a valley near Macherus on the north — a root 
miraculous in every way, but valuable only " because even if 
only brought near the sick it quickly drives out the so-called 
demons (and these are the spirits of evil men), entering into 
the living and killing such as fail of help." All this story 
can prove, if it can prove anything, is only what has never been 
in dispute — namely, that magicians did try to exorcise persons 


supposed to be possessed of demons. Josephus regards these 
latter as spirits of wicked men — not as divinities, as did the 
Christians. By this testimony the question of the New Testa- 
ment conception of casting out demons is not touched. 

Passing by the next reference (Jos., AnL^ iii, 113), which 
speaks solely of certain uncleanness, and not of demons, we 
come to the classic passage (Ant, viii, 25). It tells how 
" God taught Solomon the art against demons for help and 
healing unto men "; how Solomon " left behind him tricks 
of exorcosis whereby indwelling demons are driven out so as 
never to return " — a method valid to this day, for he (Josephus) 
had himself seen a certain one of his countrymen, by name 
Eleazar, who, in presence of Vespasian and all his host, by 
applying a ring, having a Solomonic root under its seal, to 
the nostrils of a demoniac, draw out the demon through the 
nostrils, who would then upset a basin of water at Eleazar's 
command to let all know that he had really gone out. What 
trickery was here we know not, nor whether the whole story 
be not a silly invention ; in any case and at most, like the pre- 
ceding citation, it merely proves the undisputed, but does not 
touch the question of New Testament expulsion of demons. 

In the last citation (C Ap,, i, 31) Josephus is defending 
Moses against Manetho, and seems to make no mention of 

Simply to make the story more complete, we proceed to con- 
sider the other references. In Pliny (Nat Hist,, 302) we find 
the merest mention of ** another class {factio) of magic derived 
from Moses and lannes and Lotapes and Jews, but many 
thousand years after Zoroaster." In Tacitus {Hist,, iv, 81) 
we find a cock-and-bull story of how Vespasian in Alexandria, 
after consultation with physicians who assured him it was 
worth trying, restored sight to a blind man by his own 
imperial spittle, applied as salve to the eyes, and a feeble 
{aeger) hand to strength by tramping on it with his Csesarean 
foot. Tacitus adds contemptuously : " Persons who were 
present even tell both tales now after there is no reward for 
lying." Comment seems needless. 

Finally, we are referred to Lucian {Philopseudes , 16). In 
this delicious piece of satire on credulity Lucian makes Ion, 
among others, tell lie after lie of Munchhausen proportions 


concerning the feats of magicians ; one of these is about " the 
Syrian from Palestine," who, for a suitable consideration, 
under impressive circumstances at full moon, will draw forth 
from an epileptic a demon speaking Greek or barbarian, as 
the case may be. Ion himself had seen such a demon come 
forth, black and sooty of complexion. Tychiades takes the 
history with grains of salt, remembering that, according to 
Plato, the senses are deceptive. As already said, this lie is 
drawn out of a web of lies, the absurdest that Lucian could 
invent. It seems to attest that Lucian regarded tales of 
demoniacal possession and exorcism as atrocious falsehoods. 
But still, you say, there were such tales. Certainly ; that 
has already been admitted. But the tales are always told as 
rare prodigies, and are ridiculed by the intelligent. In all 
this there is no evidence that the first Christians meant any 
such charlatanry by their expulsion of demons, which all the 
indications show was a symbolic expression for the overthrow 
of paganism, for conversion to the Jesus-cult. Though it 
may be highly probable that some of a magic turn did use 
the name of Jesus to exorcise demons in the material and 
medical sense, yet such was not the main or prevailing sense 
among early Christians, who must have been thinking 
principally of spiritual and not of physical ailments and 
impotence. To be sure, as already said, the descriptive 
imagery and the dramatic colouring may have been borrowed 
from such clinical cases of epilepsy and lunacy ; but it 
remains none the less certain that the Evangelists, in repre- 
senting Galilee of the Gentiles as thronged with demons, 
whereas in Judsea there were none, were thinking, not of the 
Galilean conditions as insanitary compared with Judsean, 
but of the multiform heathen worship that prevailed there as 
opposed to the monotheism of Judasa. 

Thus far it has been tacitly assumed, as universally 
admitted, that Galilee was, at least in large part, pagan. 
Nor does it now seem to call for any argument. Says Rabbi 
Hirsch, in the Jewish Encyclopcedia, v, 554 : " As early as 
Old Testament times the population of this region was 
greatly mixed ; and it became more so after the downfall 

of the Ephraimitic kingdom Undoubtedly many Jews 

subsequently emigrated to that blessed land, so that the 


population became predominantly Jewish, as is described 
in the New Testament and by Josephus." The word ''pre- 
dominantly " might possibly give pause, but we may let it 
stand ; ratios are here not exactly determinable. It is enough 
to quote one other sentence from the learned Rabbi : " The 
inhabitants, partly pagan, partly Jewish, are said to have 
been quarrelsome and of a disobliging disposition (Ned.y 48^/ 
Tosef., Git. vi)." In the Talmud {Shah., 14b, ipa) it is 
declared that the '' Land of the Nations " (Erez ha-Ammim), 
which can hardly be aught else than the Biblical " Circuit of 
the Nations " (Gelil ha-Goyim), is unclean. This point may, 
then, be regarded as settled. 

But it must not be supposed that the Gospels, in describing 
the victorious march of the Jesus(-cult) from town to town, 
from city to city, were thinking solely of the region around 
the Sea of Galilee. By no means ! They had in mind the 
triumphant progress of the new religion throughout the 
whole circumMediterranean empire ; but with true dramatic 
instinct for the unity of place they symbolised this heathen 
world by that region best known to them, where all faiths and 
bloods had from time immemorial been seething together, by 
"Galilee of the Gentiles." 


^^ Blessed is he who is not offended in mg " {i.e.^ in my unpretentious 
simplicity).— SCHMIEDEL. 

Professor Schmiedel himself mentions two great facts as 
explaining the impression made by the Jesus — that he " had 
compassion for the multitude and that he preached with 
power (more strictly, " as having authority "), not as the 
scribes." It seems hard to detect " unpretentious simplicity " 
in one that speaks ''as having authority"; plainly, he is 
represented as more pretentious than the scribes, who have 
no great repute for over-modesty. The multitudes were 
astounded at his teaching — why ? Because he was so simple 
and unpretentious ? Far from it ! It was the assumption, the 


pretension, the exercise of supreme power that confounded 
them and made them ask : " What is this ? New doctrine 
authoritative ! Even the spirits, the unclean, he enjoins, and 
they obey him " (Mark i, 22, 27). This, too, at the very 
beginning of his ministry — no simple, unpretentious, unob- 
trusive preliminaries, no gradual unfolding, no cautious, 
tentative preparation, no insensible dawn and development 
of the prophetic or Messianic consciousness. The voice falls 
direct from heaven. The divine doctrine leaps down from 
the throne of the Most High, panoplied in celestial armour, 
and hurls into instant flight the whole legion of pagan 
demons, of heathen gods. The notions of simplicity and 
unpretentiousness are absolutely excluded, and even reversed, 
in the Marcan representation. 

But did he not " compassionate the multitudes"? Was 
not that simple and unpretentious? These, indeed, seem to 
be queer epithets to apply to compassion, nor are they any- 
where hinted in the texts. Much more important, however, 
is the question, Why this compassion ? The answer is instruc- 
tive : " Because they were mangled and abandoned — as sheep 
having no shepherd." Hereto Mark adds most luminously : 
"And he began to teach them much"; Matthew and Luke, 
even more distinctly, make the Jesus comment on the situation 
thus ; " The harvest is great, but the labourers few ; pray, 
therefore, the Lord of the harvest that he send out labourers 
into his harvest." It seems almost superfluous to explain 
such language. Can anyone be so naive as to suppose that 
the writers are here speaking of literal multitudes literally 
following the Jesus round the rocky shores of Galilee? The 
author of i Peter ii, 25, knows much better ; for, writing to 
the ''elect strangers of dispersion," he tells them : ** Ye were 
as sheep wandering, but are restored now unto the Shepherd 
and Bishop of your souls." Compare Clement, cited on p. 51. 

The case, indeed, seems clear as day. The multitudes are 
the wanderers away from the true worship of God, whether 
Jew or pagan ; these it is the mission of the Jesus-cult to 
restore. They are likened to a flock of unsheltered sheep 
dispersed and mangled by dogs and wolves. How are they 
to be gathered and healed ? Only by instruction, by the " new 
doctrine." Mark represents the Jesus himself as teaching; 


Matthew and Luke refine upon this, and introduce a prayer for 
the help of workers in the great harvest. It is quite ridiculous 
to suppose that this great harvest consisted of throngs from 
city and village that were feebly following up the peregrina- 
tions of the Jesus. Elsewhere this ** harvest " is used to 
include all humanity, but in a sterner sense. Here the term 
refers clearly to the great mass of men who had strayed 
from the true worship, to which they were to be restored by 
the new propaganda, by the vigorous proclamation every- 
where of the Jesus-cult. The prevailing imagination of the 
Jesus sitting on some mountain^side, discoursing with his 
disciples grouped around him, while far and near are strewn 
hundreds and thousands of fainting Galilean peasants, may 
indeed be pictorial, and may well enough employ the pencil 
of the artist or amuse the fancy of children ; but it is quite 
impossible as an historic situation, and is wholly unworthy 
of the critical sense of grown-up men. 

The verb "compassionate,"' used some eight times of 
the Jesus, is very significant, being the principal one of the 
extremely few terms anywhere used to attribute human 
feeling to the God. Its comparatively frequent use has gone 
far to shape the popular idea that the Gospels represent him 
as of a peculiarly gentle, tender, merciful, and sympathetic 
nature — a notion that modern sentimentalism embraces with 
great eagerness and with little demand for careful grounding. 
Now, it is true that the Gospels do thus ascribe to their hero 
** compassion "; but it is the compassion of God, not of man, 
just as the Mohammedan prays continually to God as "Allah, 
the Merciful, the Compassionate." The Greek verb, prac- 
tically peculiar to the New Testament, is simply a Hebraism 
translating the Old Testament r-^-m, which (in the sense of 
pity) is appropriated almost exclusively to Jehovah, So, too, 
in the New Testament it is practically confined to the Jesus. 
Its application to him by no means, therefore, can stamp 
him as conceived by the Evangelists as a man, but rather 
characterises him as a God, the vicegerent of Jehovah 
himself. On this point I have discoursed elsewhere (p. 96/.) 
at length, and need not dwell longer at present. 

' (XirXayxvf-^ofxai., 



In the fierce attacks upon Der vorchristltche Jesus pre- 
cipitated by the adoption, accentuation, and popularisation 
of its theses in the epoch-marking writings of Professor 
Arthur Drews, conservative theologians have very properly 
declined to take part, thereby combining (as Bacon would 
say) serpentine wisdom with columbine innocence. They 
have clearly perceived that the movement was not directed 
against their position, but against the citadel of their century- 
old foe, who would reduce their Divinity to the ranks of men ; 
and at least one of the very greatest of them (in a letter to 
the present writer) rejoiced sincerely at beholding the sudden 
fall of that adversary. No ! It is the liberal critic, so long 
enthroned in the seats of learning, who has been amazed to 
see his central concept of the purely human Jesus put on 
trial for its life and more than half convicted, and who, 
ingemiscens tamquam reiis^ has now for nearly full two 
years plied an unavailing pen in passionate protest against 
the audacity of this "assault upon the liberal theology." 

In the sallies of the besieged much weight had been 
laid upon profane testimonies, particularly of Josephus and 
Tacitus. It is Chwolson in St. Petersburg who has bared 
his arm of might over the Josephine section ;^ it is Von Soden 
in Berlin who has stressed so strongly the Tacitean chapter. "* 
However much we may reverence these scholars in their 
cooler moments, it is not easy to take their impassioned 
utterances seriously. They do not, indeed, take each other 
seriously. The very section that Chwolson so eagerly 
defends Von Soden declares (p. ii) to be ''undoubtedly 

* Ueber die Frage oh Jesus geleht hat. 

^ Hat Jesus geleht '^ ^ and m Berliner Religionsgesprach, p. 39. 


interpolation " by Christian hands. Involuntarily one recalls 
the famous appeal '* from Philip drunk to Philip sober," and 
wonders how the contending critics will write to-morrow. 
To track down the endless inaccuracies and fallacies of such 
hasty superficialities would be a weary and bootless task, 
like chasing- field-mice in autumn : stamp them out here, 
and lo they stir the soil yonder ! In this case to be just 
would be cruel ; one can afford to be generous, and to pass 
over these Flugschriften as too flighty for detailed notice, and 
as not representing their authors properly. 

However, the passages in question do really call for a 
calm and careful and thoroughgoing treatment, such certainly 
as they have not yet received in this furious Battle of the 
Booklets ; and to such an examination we now invite the 
patient attention of the reader. 


When the liberal critic is called on to justify his dogma 
ot the mere humanity of the Jesus, his only recourse must 
be to some form of historical record. A merely human life 
is a matter merely of human history, to which accordingly 
appeal must be made. The history is either sacred or profane. 
The testimony of the former is not here in debate, and 
besides has been examined closely elsewhere by the present 
writer. Of profane history the witness is *' brief but 
endless," if, indeed, there be any such witness at all. The 
first, and by all odds the most important, is found in the 
Antiquities of the Jewish historian Josephus — precisely the 
work in which one would search for it with the liveliest 
interest and the greatest confidence. The attestation, as we 
read it now, is clear, decisive, and unequivocal. Accepted 
at its face value, it settles for ever the question that now so 
agitates the head and heart of Germany. It deserves, then, 
the most conscientious and open-minded scrutiny. 

Such a scrutiny discloses in the first place that the 
chapter in which the deposition is found is concerned exclu- 
sively with calamities that overtook the Jews, It is sand- 
wiched between two other sections that tell of heavy disasters 
that befell God's people at Rome and Jerusalem. Now, 


unless this passage itself tells of some signal misfortune to 
his countrymen — and in spite of Chwolson it is hopelessly 
absurd and ridiculous to attempt any such construction — it 
seems impossible that Josephus should have introduced it in 
this connection. We make this preliminary observation in 
the hope that the reader will bear it constantly in mind from 
the very start, and because it is of itself absolutely decisive 
against the whole section and against every emendation 
thereof that apologetic ingenuity can suggest. There is not 
one word of the entire passage that can stand against this 
single consideration — namely, that all the rest of the chapter, 
both before and after, is devoted to the afflictions that scourged 
the countrymen of the historian. 

Here, then, is this famous section reproduced in its 
(condensed) context: Archeology, Book XVIII, chap. iii. 

§ I. Pilate, procurator ofjudea, removes the army from 
Caesarea to Jerusalem for winter quarters, and, against all 
precedent, brings Caesar's effigies by night into the Holy 
City. The Jews flock to Caesarea protesting for five days, 
but in vain ; the sixth day Pilate forms a plan to massacre 
them, but, struck with their heroic devotion in laying down 
their bared necks, he relents and orders back the images from 
Jerusalem to Cassarea. 

§ 2. Pilate undertakes to supply Jerusalem with water, 
using sacred money. The Jews protest clamorously and 
abusively. So he distributes among the populace soldiers 
in citizens' dress ; at a signal (when the Jews refused to 
disperse) the soldiers draw their concealed daggers and 
slaughter : ** And they bore themselves no way mildly, so 
that, the people being caught unarmed by the soldiers 
attacking fully prepared, many of them perished thus and 
some ran away wounded. And so the sedition was stopped. 

§ 3. ''And there appeared at this time Jesus, a wise man, 
if man indeed it be lawful to call him. For he was a doer of 
marvellous works, (a) teacher of men that receive the truth 
with pleasure. And many Jews and many, too, of the Hellenic 
(race) he brought over to himself. This was the Christ. 
And when on the evidence of the first men among us Pilate 
had condemned him to the cross, they did not cease who 
had loved him at first, for he appeared to them on the third 


day again alive, the divine prophets having spoken both 
these and myriad other wondrous things about him. And 
(even) until now the tribe of the Christians, named from him, 
is not extinct." 

§ 4. " And about the same time another terrible misfortune^ 

confounded the Jews." Then follows the story of the 

dishonouring of Paulina in the temple of Isis by Mundus 
personating Anubis, and of the punishment of this sacrilege 
by Tiberius, who demolished the temple and crucified the 
offenders all but the principal, Mundus, himself. 

§ 5. The misfortune of the Jews : 4,000 are banished from 
Rome for the wickedness of four, a Rabbi and three 
confederates, who procured gifts from Fulvia, wife of 
Saturninus, under false pretences. 

We can hardly covet the critical insight that sees in this 
§ 3 the hand of Josephus. The chapter deals solely with the 
misfortunes of the Jews at Ccesarea, at Jerusalem^ at Rome, 
§ J is entirely out of relation to its context. 

Moreover, that § 4 follows immediately upon § 2 is plain 
to see in the words '' another calamity ^ The obvious reference 
is to the preceding massacre in Jerusalem. There is no possible 
reference to § 3. 

Furthermore, the style is not that of the historian. It 
is plain, straightforward, uninvolved, in contrast with the 
tangled meshes of the Josephine sentence. 

Still more, however, and decisively, the writer of \ -^^is a 
Christian. He declares positively, "This was the Christ."^ 
Posing as Josephus, he says of Jesus, "wise man," but 
instantly corrects himself, " if man indeed it is lawful to call 
him "; he describes Jesus as a doer of prodigies, as a teacher 
of the truth ; he affirms distinctly the resurrection — " he 
appeared the third day again alive"; he accepts the whole 
body of ten thousand wonders told of him as Messiah and 
foretold of him by the divine prophets. Such faith as this, 
and such an open avowal, might satisfy even the Holy Office 
of the Inquisition. 

Once again, the phraseology smacks strongly of the New 
Testament. Thus yivtrai in the sense of comes (Mark i, 4 ; 

^ ^rep6p TL 8eiv6y. " 6 XpiffTds oCroj ■^p. 


John i, 6 ; 2 Peter ii, i ; i John ii, 18) and the change from 
past to present tense ;' " that receive the truth with pleasure ";^ 
compare " the principal men " with ''the head men "^ of the 
Gospels, Acts, Epistles ; also " they that loved him at first " 
with John xiii, i, "having- loved his own which were in the 
world, he loved them unto the end"; also the "myriad 
wonders " with John xxi, 25, " The world itself could not 
contain the books that should be written." 

Finally, the phrase " until now " recalls the New Testament 
" unto this day " (Matthew xxviii, 15), and indicates similarly 
a late date for the paragraph, surely later than 80 a.d., when 
Josephus wrote his Archeology. Schiirer observes (§ 17, 
footnote 24) that "Josephus has certainly been interpolated 
by a Christian hand"; and in view of all the foregoing there 
should be no hesitancy in bracketing this section, with the 
great editor Bekker, as spurious. 

To this internal evidence comes the decisive external fact 
that the section was unknown to Origen. This most learned 
of the Fathers, in his polemic against Celsus, had frequent 
and pressing occasion to use every scrap of outlying testimony 
to the Christian thesis assailed. As we shall immediately see, 
he quotes copiously and repeatedly from Josephus witnessing 
concerning James the Just ; he had every occasion and every 
motive to quote this incomparably far more relevant and far 
more important witness concerning the Christ. That he 
never calls it in evidence is morally conclusive proof that 
he did not know of its existence, which can only mean that 
it was not in Origen's copy of Josephus. No attempt yet 
made to evade this conclusion seems worthy of any notice. 
The fact that the passage is not mentioned by still earlier 
writers, as Irenasus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and 
others, affords corroboration, if any be needed, of the fact 
that neither this nor any other available witness concerning 
Jesus was to be found in the copies of Josephus in the hands 
of the Christian Fathers. 

It seems, then, that the non-Josephine origin of this 

'' So also irapabd^wv , as in Luke v, 26,etda/xev irapdSo^a a-qixepov. 

' Cf. Luke viii, 13, "receive the word with joy"; Acts xvii, 11, "received 
the word with all zeal"; James i, 21, "receive with meekness the engrafted 

3 &PX0VT€S. 


section is indicated unambiguously by almost every kind of 
evidence that can be demanded in such matters. Its testimony 
would appear to be not for, but distinctly against, the position 
it was invented to support ; for men do not fabricate docu- 
ments to corroborate the true, but to recommend the false. 
Let us not insist on this, however, but remain content with 
the obvious fact that, on the most favourable reckoning 
possible, the section labours under the gravest suspicion, and 
can attest nothing save that itself is in the direst need of 

Here at the outset it may be well to observe that the 
general hypothesis of Christian interpolation needs no vindi- 
cation and involves no improbability. For that it is a fact in 
countless cases is admitted on all hands. Leaving aside the 
New Testament for the present, the list of outright pseudony- 
mous Christian compositions, universally so recognised, is 
long and formidable. It is not necessary to burden these 
pages with any such list, since such lists are easily accessible 
and the general fact is nowhere in dispute. Moreover, of 
works probably genuine, it is the rare exception that has 
escaped interpolation. Jewish works were regularly adapted 
to Christian use by this approved process of intercalating 
Christian sentiments, dogmas, or allusions. Witness the 
Sibylline Oracles, the Testaments of the Patriarchs, and the 
Jewish Apocrypha in general. So far, then, from being 
antecedently improbable, such interpolation is very probable 
antecedently ; it is more likely than not. Nevertheless, to 
leave a wider margin of safety, we shall employ this form 
of argument sparingly, not wherever its use is possible, but 
only where it is recommended by independent considerations. 

A second reference of Josephus to Jesus might be 
imagined in the following paragraph {Arc/i,, XX, ix, i) 
treating of the death of James, *'the brother of the Lord": — 

" Ananus, then, being such (as I have said), fancying he 
had now a fitting opportunity, since Festus was dead and 
Albinus was still on the road, assembles a Sanhedrin of 
judges, and having brought thither the brother of Jesus ^ him 
called Christ (James was his namejy and some certain others^ 
and having made accusations (against them as) lawbreakers, 
he delivered them to be stoned." 


The words in italics^ have been regarded as spurious— we 
think, correctly. Neander and others defend them, and 
McGiffert says {The Church History of Eus,^ p. 127, 
n. 39) : " It is very difficult to suppose that a Christian, 
in interpolating the passage, would have referred to James 
as the brother of the ' so-called Christ.' "^ Indeed ! On the 
contrary, it is just because this phrase is the most approved 
Christian, evangelic, and canonic that we suspect it in 
Josephus. It meets us in Matthew i, 16; xxvii, 17, 22; 
John iv, 25. The depreciatory ''so" is not in the Greek. 
Thus we read of " Simon the so-called Peter " (Matthew 
iv, 18; X, 2), "the high-priest the so-called Caiaphas " 
(Matthew xxvi, 3), "the feast the so-called Passover" 
(Luke xxii, i), "the man the so-called Jesus" (John ix, 11), 
" Thomas the so-called Didymus " (John xi, 16 ; xx, 24 ; 
xxi, 2), "gate the so-called Beautiful" (Acts iii, 2), "tent the 
so-called Holy of Holies " (Heb. ix, 3), where depreciation is 
out of the question. The indication is merely that of a 
surname or nickname, or name in some way peculiar or 

It seems incredible that Josephus should throw in such an 
observation at this stage without any preparation or explana- 
tion or occasion. Moreover, it is certain that Josephus has 
been interpolated elsewhere by Christian hands, and with 
precisely this same phrase ; for Origen thrice quotes as from 
Josephus the statement that the Jewish sufferings at the hands 
of Titus were a divine retribution for the slaying of James : 
"Josephus says in his Archeology: 'According to wrath of 
God these things came upon them, for the things dared by 
them against James, the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ.' 

And he says that 'the people, too, thought they suffered 

these things on account of James ' " (463) in Matt, xiii, 55. 
" The same [Josephus] seeking the cause of the fall of Jeru- 
salem and of the demolition of the Temple says : ' These 

[calamities] befell the Jews in vengeance for James the Just, 
who was brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ, since, indeed, 
they slew him, though being most just.' " — Contra C, I, 47. 

Tbv &5€\(f>bv 'Irja-oO tov Xeyo/xhov Xpi,<rTou ('Ia/cw/3os 6vo/ia avTcp) and Kal eripovs. 
TOO Xeyofievov Xpiarov. 


"Titus demolished Jerusalem, as Josephus writes, on account 
of James the Just, the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ." 
— Contra C, II, i^ fin. The passage is still found in some 
Josephus manuscripts ; but as it is wanting in others it is, 
and must be, regarded as a Christian interpolation older than 
Origen (against Hilgenfeld, Einleitung^ p. 526, who thinks 
the passage has been expunged from Christian manuscripts 
of Josephus !). Now, since this phrase is certainly inter- 
polated in the one place, the only reasonable conclusion is 
that it is interpolated in the other. This notion that the 
death of James was avenged in the siege of Jerusalem is 
found in the bud in Hegesippus, who says : " And so he 
suffered martyrdom. And they buried him on the spot beside 

the temple This man became a true witness both to Jews 

and to Greeks that Jesus is the Christ. And straightway 
Vespasian besieges them " (Eus., H, E., II, 23, 18). 

But does not the phrase itself attest the mere humanity 
of the Jesus? Now, it is plain that if James or any one else 
was really the flesh-and-blood brother of the Lord or of Jesus, 
then this latter was assuredly not purely human. But is 
flesh-and-blood kinship meant by the term " brother "? It is 
not certain ; it is not even probable. Winckler (in Arabtsch- 
Semitisch-Orientaliscli) and others have shown us how broad 
is the notion of brother in the East. In the New Testament 
itself the term is used continually, regularly, to denote 
religious relation, without the remotest hint of blood kinship. 
In the West and to-day it is similarly used of all members 
of an organisation, secular as well as religious. In the 
Gospels^ Jesus himself is made to ask: "Who are my 
brothers?" And he answers : " They that do the will of my 
Father in heaven." Here, then, in the most ancient Church, 
we find distinct declaration that to be "brother of Jesus " was 
to keep the law, to do the will of the Father in heaven. Now, 
it was precisely this punctilious fulfilment of the law for 
which this James the Just was famous. This fact is well 
known and universally admitted, so that it stands in no need 
of formal proof. 

* Matt, xii, 46-50; Mark iii, 31-35; Luke viii, 21. See also Matt, xxv, 40, 
xxviii, 10 ; i Cor. ix, 5 ; Gal. i, 19. 


In Acts we hear a good deal of this James, but only in 
this character as the leader of the law-abiding disciples. No 
less an authority than Jerome (a.d. 387) has expressed the 
correct idea on this point. In commenting on Gal. i, 19, he 
says (in sum): ''James was called the Lord's brother on 
account of his high character, his incomparable faith, and 
his extraordinary wisdom ; the other Apostles are also called 
brothers (John xx, 17), but he pre-eminently so to whom the 
Lord at his departure had committed the sons of his mother" 
{t.e.^ the members of the Church at Jerusalem). Similarly 
Origen, in immediate continuation ofthe passagecited(C Cels.^ 
i, 47). From i Cor. ix, 5, we see with distinctness that there 
was a class of Messianists, nearly co-ordinate with the 
Apostles, bearing the honoured name of "brothers of the 
Jesus," or "of the Lord"; also a class called "Those of 
Kephas." Hence in Corinth some said, " I am of Kephas"; 
others, " I am of Christ." 

Indeed, it is never hinted that James was really con- 
sanguineous with Jesus. We hold, then, that this term 
"brother of the Lord," does by no means imply any family 
kinship — that it most probably designates a class of earnest 
Messianists, zealots of obedience ; and we venture to set 
them in close relation with the Corinthian " Those of the 
Christ."' Surely, if a sect of early Messianists were known 
as particularly "They of the Christ," it is highly likely that 
they or some similar group should be known as " brothers 
of the Lord" or of "Jesus." Especially does this seem 
intrinsically probable when we remember that there is no 
evidence that this name was employed before the notion of 
the earthly human life of Jesus was already established, or 
at least establishing itself. That zealots should then call 
themselves and their earlier leader " brothers of Jesus " is 
no stranger than that Loyola should found the " Society of 
Jesus." Besides, we must never forget that names of the 
Christians did greatly abound, such as Saints, Disciples, 
Called, Elect, "of Paul," "of Peter," "of Christ," Nazorees, 
Gnostics, the Perfect, Pneumatics, and others. From all of 
which we conclude that the phrase in question, no matter 

^ Ol TOV XpiffTOV. 


when first used, nor by whom, nor of whom, by no means 
implies any kinship, or furnishes any proof of the purely 
human character of Jesus. 


The next reference to Christ by a profane writer is found 
in Tacitus' : — 

Sed non ope humana, non largitionibus principis aut deum placa- 
mentis decedebat infamla, quin iussum incendium crederetur. Ergo 
abolendo rumori Nero subdidit reos et quaesitisslmis poenis adfecit, 
quos per flagitia invlsos vulgus Christianos appellabat. Auctor 
nominis elus Chrlstus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium 
Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat ; repressaque in praesens exitiabilis 
superstitio rursus erumpebat, non modo per ludaeam, originem eius 
mail, sed per urbem etiam, quo cuncta undique atrocia aut pudenda 
confluunt celebranturque. Igltur primum correpti qui fatebantur, 
deinde indicio eorum multitudo ingens baud proinde in crimine 
incendii quam odio humani generis convicti sunt. Et pereuntibus 
addita ludibria, ut ferarum tergis contecti laniatu canum interirent, 
aut crucibus adfixi aut flammandi, atque, ubi defecisset dies, in 
usum nocturni luminis urerentur. Hortos suos ei spectaculo Nero 
obtulerat et circense ludicrum edebat, habitu aurigae permixtus plebi 
vel curriculo insistens. Unde quamquam adversus sontes et novis- 
sima exempla meritos miseratio oriebatur, tamquam non utilitate 
publica sed in saevitiam unius absumerentur {Annals, xv, 44). 

With respect to this famous passage we must observe 
first that, tf it he genuine^ it was written in the first quarter 
of the second century, near the close of the last work of the 
great historian, most probably after the death of Trajan 
(a.d. 117). At the most, then, it records only a report 
accepted at that time among Christians. Now it is not at 
all strange that the fiction (if it be a fiction) of the death 
under Pilate should be current at that date, nearly three 
generations after the feigned event. If such a report 
originated at all, it originated (gradually to be sure) at some 
time most probably in the first century ; it may easily then 
have obtained currency and reached the ears of Tacitus 
before a.d. iio. Its reproduction at his hands, then, 
merely attests its existence at that date, but in no degree 
attests its correctness. 

^ For the translation and the context see infra^ p. 246. 


Thus far on the supposition that the passage proceeds 
from Tacitus ; we need make no other supposition for the 
purposes of our argument. Let it be genuine, if you will ; 
it proves nothing that is worth debate. Since he has never 
attached any argumentative importance to the passage, the 
mind of the writer may be fairly supposed to be in a measure 
unprejudiced, and as a mere matter of critical candour he 
must not disguise from the reader that he most gravely 
doubts its genuineness. It has indeed been speciously 
contended of late that Poggio Bracciolini was the author of 
the Annals,^ but there are very cogent reasons against this 
contention. This whole section, however, reads very much 
like fabrication, or at least emendation, of a Christian hand. 
Among other suspicious circumstances may be noted the 
following : — 

{a) Such a remarkable persecution as here described, and 
such a passage from such an author, would have deeply 
impressed the early Christian mind. There is nothing else 
nearly equal to either in pagan history and literature of that 
century. We should expect them to stand out conspicuous 
in the memories and memorials of the following generations. 
We know how zealously the data of martyrdom were cherished 
and even invented at an early period. It is inconceivable, 
then, that an event so supremely memorable should have 
escaped all record and all reference. Yet what is the state 
of the case ? Early tradition is absolutely silent about both 
the Neronian persecution and the Tacitean testimony. Paul 
would seem to have been in Rome about that time (a.d. 64). 
Surely he would have been involved someway in the pro- 
ceedings. Yet there is no allusion to any part he played in 
the tragedy. True, in 2 Tim. iv, 6-8, we read : '* For already 
I pour myself out as offering, and the time of my dissolution 
is come ; I have fought the good fight, have finished the 
course, have kept the faith ; henceforth is laid up for me the 
crown of righteousness which the Lord shall give me in that 
day, the Just Judge, and not only to me but to all who have 
loved his appearing." But in verses 16 and 17 the scene 

^ Tacitus and Bracciolini. The Annals Forged in the Fifteenth Century. 
London, 1878. 


shifts suddenly : " At my first defence none was for me, but 
all forsook me — let it not be reckoned against them — but the 
Lord stood by me and strengthened me, that through me the 
preaching might be fulfilled and all the nations hear : and I 
was delivered from (the) lion's mouth. The Lord will deliver 
me from every evil work, and will save me unto his kingdom 
the heavenly." 

Again, in verse ii all have deserted him but one : "Only 
Luke is with me." But in verses 19-21 he is surrounded by a 
numerous company — ''Eubulusand Pudens, and Linus and 
Claudia, and all the brethren." Out of such contradictions 
nothing can be made, save only that there is no hint at 
anything like the Neronian persecution. The writer or 
writers seem not to have known any tradition concerning it 
which they could work into these pastorals. 

The first Epistle of Peter, addressed to the elect of the 
dispersion in Northern Asia Minor, is much concerned with 
the persecution and " fiery trial " that has overtaken them ; 
but, though apparently written from Rome (" Babylon," v, 13), 
it contains not the remotest reference to the " fiery trial " 
through which it is supposed the church there had passed. 
Some reference, however, under such circumstances, would 
seem to be so natural as to be almost inevitable. 

Not even in the Apocalypse do we find any clear or even 
probable allusion to an event that would have bulked so 
hugely in the early Christian consciousness. On this point 
we need not enlarge ; enough to refer to the works of 
Mommsen and Neumann ; even Furneaux admits that "the 
supposed references are certainly in great part to be other- 
wise explained," though he still thinks there "are points in 
which such allusions can hardly be excluded " — an opinion 
that seems to be the last remnant of departing prejudice. 
Why, then, did the Apocalyptist not refer to this tremendous 
persecution distinctly, or at least unequivocally, if he had ever 
heard thereof? 

Turning now to Clement of Rome, we find him (chap, v) 
very naturally setting before the eyes of his correspondents 
"the noble examples that belong to our generation." The 
fierce persecution detailed by Tacitus would have been 
perfectly known to him, yet he seems never to have heard 


of it. The sufferings of Peter he attributes to '' unrighteous 
jealousy." *' Not one, nor two, but more trials he underwent, 
and so, having borne witness, he fared to the appointed place 
of glory. By reason of jealousy and strife Paul exemplified 
the prize of patience. Seven times cast into bonds, exiled, 
stoned, made preacher both in east and west, he received the 
noble renown of his faith, having taught the whole world 
righteousness and come to the bounds of the west, and having 
borne witness before the rulers, so he departed from the world 
and fared unto the holy place, having become a chiefest 
pattern of patience." We do not pretend to know the exact 
meaning of such words ; it seems doubtful whether Clement 
himself knew. But it seems certain that they convey no hint 
of the Neronic persecution as described in the Annals ; nay, 
more, they seem to imply unmistakably that their author had 
never heard of any such ''fiery trial." 

Passing to the *' Ignatians," we find the letter to the 
Romans written in a style and mood of extreme exaltation. 
" Ignatius " yearns passionately for the arena ; he longs to be 
ground as wheat by the teeth of wild beasts. Surely, if he 
had ever heard of the terrible experience of the Romans 
themselves, such a rhetorician would have let some hint 
escape him. But he does not, and his silence appears to 
admit of but the one and the same explanation. 

It is superfluous to pass in review the other Christian 
writers of this era. They are consistently dumb on the 
subject under discussion, and their collective stillness makes 
the argument from silence as convincing as in the nature of 
the case it ever can be. 

Far down the stream of history, over one hundred years 
from the date of the conflagration, we find at last, in a 
fragment quoted by Eusebius {H. E.^ iv, 26) from a Libellus 
addressed to Antoninus (Aurelius) by Melito, Bishop of 
Sardis (near 170 a.d.), the first Christian allusion to Nero as 
an enemy of Christians. It declares : " For what has never 
before happened^ the race of the pious is now suffering 

persecution, being driven about in Asia by new decrees 

for our philosophy formerly flourished among the barbarians, 
but, having sprung up among the nations under thy rule 
during the great reign of thy ancestor Augustus, it became to 



thy empire especially a blessing of auspicious omen. And 
a most convincing proof that our doctrine flourished for the 
good of an empire happily begun is this : that there has no 

evil happened since Augustus' reign only Nero and 

Domitian, persuaded by certain calumnious men, wished to 
slander our doctrine, from whom also it has come to pass that 
the falsehood has been handed down by unreasonable custom 
of information ('sycophancy') against such (Christians)." 
One moment we may pause to note that the good bishop 
goes back to the reign of Augustus for the origin of "our 
philosophy," which had already existed among the " bar- 
barians " (z.^., the Jews — Tatian calls the Jewish Scriptures 
** barbaric"),' and which must then have been essentially 
monotheism — and then we observe that he has apparently no 
knowledge and no idea of the Neronian persecution as now set 
forth in Tacitus, and that he is arguing that good emperors 
have tolerated, while only the wicked have discountenanced 
Christianity. Here he adds : " But thy pious fathers corrected 
their ignorance, having frequently rebuked in writing many 
who dared to attempt new measures against them " — in 
evidence whereof he refers to Adrian's Epistle to Fundanus 
and to many others. 

No new furrow need be driven through the field so well 
ploughed by Keim, Overbeck, Mommsen, Schiller, Lightfoot, 
Ramsay, and others. It is enough that Melito, who seems ot 
have been so exceedingly well versed in the relation of Chris- 
tianity to the State, still gives no hint of anything resembling 
the Tacitean persecution. And yet to do so would have suited 
the purposes of his argument admirably. With great force 
he could have said : " Nero the matricide, the worst of men, 
Nero did indeed persecute us atrociously, to hide his own 
iniquity, as your own historian Tacitus bears witness ; and 
behold what swift and just and terrible vengeance overtook 
him ! " How could Melito have failed to make such a telling 
and obvious point? 

Another descent brings us to Tertullian, who admittedly 
knew and made use of Melito's booklet in his own Apolo- 
geticum. His argument is the same, that good government 

* In describing his own conversion {Address to the Greeks, chap. xxix). 


favoured and bad gfovernment disfavoured the Christians, ^~-— ^ 
but he is far more reckless in assertion. He declares (c. 5) 
that " Tiberius, when intelligence reached him from Syria 
Palestine of what had there revealed truth of Divinity itself, 
reported to the Senate with the weight [prcerogativa) of his 
own vote. The Senate, because it had not itself tested, 
rejected (his proposal) ; Csesar maintained his judgment, 
threatening peril to accusers of Christians." Let the reader 
not be surprised at such history made to order. " Consult 
your records (commentarios) ; there you will find Nero the 
first that raged with Caesarean sword against this sect when 
rising most at Rome. But in such a founder of our con- 
demnation we glory even, for whoso knows him can under- 
stand that only something signally good was condemned by 
Nero. Domitian, too, made trial, a portion of Nero in 
cruelty ; but, being also man, readily he checked his own 
beginning, restoring even whom he had banished. Such 
always our persecutors, unjust, impious, base, whom you 
yourselves are wont to condemn, those condemned by whom 
you are wont to restore." 

Here one begins to suspect that Nero is made to play the 
role of persecutor only because he was so perfectly suited to 
the part. But even Tertullian reveals no notion of such a 
Neronian persecution as we read of in Tacitus. Yet he was 
acquainted with this historian, whose Historice he cites at / 
length (c. 16), on whose name he puns, whom he cordially 
hates for defaming the Jews. Had he read of Nero's burning 
the Christians alive, would he have used such vague and 
commonplace imagery as ** raged with Caesarean sword" 
and "through Nero's cruelty they sowed Christian blood"? 
Remember that Tertullian was a rhetorician to his finger- 
tips. Would he have neglected such an exceptional oppor- 
tunity for the display of his thrice-favourite art? 

It seems needless to discuss still later testimony, as 
that of Lactantius (De mort, persec, 2), of Origen (Eus., 
H. E,, ni, i), of Eusebius {H. E., H, 25), and of Jerome. 
These late writers have at last learned, after two centuries 
or more of ignorance, that Peter and Paul fell victims to 
Neronian fury ; but they still have no idea that Nero falsely 
accused the Christians of setting the city on fire, nor do they 


hint that a ** vast multitude " lit up the Roman night with 
the flames of their burning bodies. Not until the fourth 
century, in Ep. 12 of the forged correspondence of Paul and 
Seneca, do we read that " Christians and Jews, as if contrivers 
of (a) conflagration, when put to death are wont to be burned." 
But even here the allusion, if there be any, to the Neronian 
persecution is extremely vague. 

It must be added that the Jews are here associated with 
the Christians; that they could hardly have been sharply 
separated in Rome a.d. 64; that they, far more than Chris- 
tians, were open to the charge of hatred of the human race 
(" Against all others, hostile hate ") — Tacitus, ^.5, 2 ; that 
they had already felt twice in Rome (under Tiberius and 
under Claudius) the weight of the imperial hand ; that 
Lucan, Pliny, Persius, Seneca — all writers of that era — speak 
of the Jews with sharpness, never of the Christians — and it 
will appear practically impossible that they could have 
escaped in any such persecution as the Tacitean. But if 
they did not escape, if they suffered, this must have been 
known to their great historian and champion, Josej)hus, who 
was a young man at the time. 

Now, this writer, in his Archeology (XX, 8, 3), protests 
against the gross inaccuracies and falsehoods of the 
biographers of Nero, both favourable and unfavourable, 
while disclaiming any intention to correct or supplement 
them in general. " But what things befell us Jews we shall 
exhibit with great accuracy,^ shrinking to show plainly 
neither our calamities nor our sins." If, then, even a few 
Jews had fallen victims in the capital to Neronian calumny 
and savagery, there seems to be no doubt that Josephus 
would have known and noted it. Yet he gives not the 
slightest hint that any such rumour had ever reached his 

Here, then, we stand in presence of the unbroken and 

\ universal silence of over two hundred years concerning an 

alleged event of capital importance, transacted in the very 

centre of knowledge and information and rumour, yet never 

once mentioned by any one among many whose especial 

* ov rrap^pyus. 


interest it was to tell of it often and to dwell on it at length. 
Nor can any one suggest the slightest reason for this silence, 
for this studied suppression of a highly momentous and 
dramatic incident in a reign that was a favourite subject of 
historic delineation, and that lent itself especially to high 
colouring and picturesque exaggeration. Such considera- 
tions seem ample to weight the scale heavily against the 
genuineness of the passage in question. 

{b) On looking more narrowly at the whole Tacitean 
context, we find that it suggests quite independently many 
doubts kindred and hardly less grave. The account of the 
great fire extends through six chapters, beginning with the 
thirty-eighth : " Follows a disaster ; whether by chance or by 
guile of the prince is uncertain." A vivid description is 
given. Chap, xxxix tells how Nero did not return from 
Antium till the flames approached (as they ultimately 
devoured) his house. He took instant and popular measures 
to relieve the homeless and destitute, but " without avail, 
since rumour had gone abroad that at the very moment of 
the city in flames he had gone upon a private stage and sung 
the Fall of Troy, likening present ills to ancient calamities." 
Chap, xl tells of the end put to the conflagration at the 
foot of the Esquiline, and of its second outburst, involving 
fewer deaths but more widespread destruction. Chap, xli 
enumerates some of the elements of the fearful loss. Chap, xlii 
tells how *' Nero made use of his country's ruins, and erected 
a house " in which the genius and audacity of Severus and 
Celer would defiantly outvie the prodigality of Nature herself. 
It seems plain that the immense achievements and immenser 
conceptions of these architects and landscape gardeners must 
have required years for their elaboration and even partial 
execution. Chap, xliii tells of the rebuilding of Rome itself, 
not in the old irregular fashion, but "with rows of streets 
measured out, with wide-wayed spaces, with limited height 
of buildings, and areas laid open and colonnades added to 
protect the frontage of the tenements (insularurri)^ This 
description is elaborated, and what part Nero took in the 
rebuilding is emphasised. These changes pleased in general 
both by their utility and by their beauty, though some there 
were that said the old was better. 


A city cannot be rebuilt in such substantial fashion (" with 
stone from Gabii or Alba, impervious to fire ") in a day or 
month or year, nor without enormous outlay of money ; and 
the imperial treasury seems to have borne the weight of the 
expense. It is not strange, then, but nearly inevitable, that 
the next chapter should continue thus : ** Meanwhile, by con- 
tributing funds, Italy was laid waste throughout, provinces 
subverted, and allied peoples and whatever States are called 
free. Even the gods fell a prey to this plunder," their 
temples being robbed of gold and votive offerings, and even 
the images of the gods themselves. 

And so precisely does chap, xlv open, as the natural and 
almost inevitable continuation of chap, xliii, stating the 
necessary consequences of the methods and aims of Nero as 
therein set forth. Between these two chapters, thus so closely 
united in thought, we now read chap, xliv, which has no 
intimate connection with either. 

" And these things (the gradual Neronian rebuilding) were 
provided by human counsels. Next (mox) were sought pro- 
pitiations to the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibyl's 
books, whence followed supplication to Volcan and Ceres and 
Proserpine ; and Juno was propitiated by matrons, first in the 
Capitol, then at the nearest point of the sea, with water drawn 
whence the temple and image of the goddess were sprinkled ; 
and sacred banquets and night-long vigils did the women 
celebrate who had husbands. But not through human effort, 
not through largesses of the prince nor appeasements of the 
gods, did the ill report subside ; but still the fire was believed 
(to have been) ordered. Therefore, to get rid of the rumour, 
Nero substituted as guilty and subjected to most exquisite 
tortures (those) whom, hated for their abominations, the 
populace used to call Christians. The author of this name, 
Christus, had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by 
procurator Pontius Pilate ; and though repressed for the 
moment (this) pernicious superstition was breaking forth 
again, not only through Judsea, source of this evil, but even 
through the capital where all things hideous or shameful pour 
together from everywhere and catch the crowd. Accordingly, 
first were hurried away (to trial those) who confessed (the 
charge) ; then by information of these an immense multitude, 


not so much for the crime of incendiarism as hatred of the 
human race, were convicted (or conjoined, convicH or con- 
juncti). And to them perishing were added mockeries, (as) 
that clothed with hides of wild beasts they should die by 
mangling of dogs, or affixed to crosses, or doomed to flames, 
and, when day had departed, should be burned for purpose of 
nocturnal illumination. Nero had offered his gardens for 
that spectacle, and was exhibiting a circus show, mixing with 
the crowd in the garb of a charioteer or standing on a car. 
Whence, although towards persons guilty and deserving the 
most exemplary punishment, there arose pity, as if not for 
public good but unto the savagery of one man they were 
being sacrificed." 

Let the reader of this chapter thus literally translated 
judge whether it fits in with either chap, xliii or xlv, which 
fall so naturally together. Let him note that the whole story 
is intrinsically improbable ; that it implies a very old and 
long-established and numerous church in Rome, and a 
hatred on the part of the people that seems at that time 
quite incredible ; that no proper meaning can be attached 
to "were confessing" — confessing what? Arnold naturally 
replies: the charge of ''firing the city." But that seems 
wholly incredible. Surely they had not fired it, and would 
not lie against themselves. Ramsay thinks they confessed 
they were Christians ; Von Soden even so translates it ! 
Doubtless. But Christianity was not then a capital offence ; 
it was only the crime of burning Rome that could bring 
down on them such condign punishment. Moreover, these 
"first seized" not only confess but implicate an "immense 
multitude." In what? In firing the city? Impossible! 
They were not guilty. In being Christians? Equally impos- 
sible. There was not an immense multitude of Christians in 
Rome ; and even if we understand only a few score by this 
multitudo ingensj it seems impossible that the few first seized 
would betray the whole Christian community to such a monster 
as Nero. That would have been neither wise as serpent nor 
harmless as dove. Here, then, the story is unbelievable. 
Note, again, that the spectacle must have endured for a long 
time, else surely the Roman mob, used to such sights, would 
not have felt pity for a class of hated criminals who had 


burned two-thirds of Rome and caused unspeakable ruin and 
woe. And why do Suetonius {Ner.^ 38) and Dio Cassius 
(62, 16, i) and Pliny {N. H.y xvii, i, i, 5), who all have no 
doubt that Nero himself ordered the conflagration, and who 
must have known of such a long-continued slaughter of 
innocents, why do they never even remotely allude to such 
a tremendous matter? Lastly, when did this persecution 
take place? Naturally, one would suppose that the report 
started at once, while men's minds were wild with excitement, 
as did the rumour of Nero's fiddling mid the flames of Rome. 
But no one can gain such an idea from chap, xliv, which 
mentions the report after the account of Nero's architectural 
reconstruction, and indicates that he took severe measures 
not, as would be natural, in the heated state of public feeling, 
but only long after, and because the report refused to abate. 
This is not, indeed, incredible, but it is certainly perplexing. 

And what can be the force or reference of " meanwhile " 
{mterea)y with which the next chapter (xlv) opens? Ifjjve 
omit chap, xliv, the reference is obvious, the term is so 
appropriate as to be almost unavoidable : Nero was rebuild- 
ing Rome on a scale of unexampled grandeur at incalculable 
outlay of imperial treasures. "What an abyss of expense! 
Whence came the necessary funds?" involuntarily exclaims 
the reader. The author answers : Meanwhile Italy, the 
provinces, the allies, the free states, the very sanctuaries of 
the gods were devastated to meet the prodigious cost. Now 
insert chap. xliv. At once the connection is broken, the 
thought is left hung in the air, extraneous and remotely 
related matters distract the attention, and when the subject 
is resumed in chap, xlv there is found nothing in chap, xliv 
to which the " meanwhile " can refer — for it is unreasoning 
to say " Nero was burning Christians and the people were 
moved to compassion, meanwhile the empire was plundered." 
We must go back to chap, xliii to find the natural attach- 
ment for chap, xlv — a clear indication that the intervening 
chapter has been interpolated. 

{c) Does someone (as Von Soden) object that the style is 
too Tacitean not to be genuine? We reply that quite as 
good imitations are frequent enough. In his Letters to Dead 
Authors Mr. Andrew Lang has reproduced admirably a 


dozen widely diverse styles, none of them at all like his own. 
Such a tour de force is exceptional, but it shows that the 
limits of possibility in such matters are very wide. Besides, 
are we sure that the style is really so much like that of 
Tacitus ? Careful scrutiny has perhaps not yet been made, 
but there are certainly counter indications. We pass over 
the well-known facts that the text is here particularly waver- 
ing ; that it is strange that Tacitus should speak of Pontius 
Pilate merely as procurator, without specifying of what, 
whereas such a form of speech was most natural for the 
interpolator ; that the extremely harsh judgment of the 
Christians is puzzling in the intimate friend of Pliny, from 
whom he would almost surely have learned better ; that the 
"vast multitude" is an exaggeration more than Tacitean, and 
not at all paralleled by the iacuit immensa strages of An.y 
vi, 19/ and we would fix attention solely on one purely 
stylistic consideration, the expression humani generis. The 
whole sentence has sorely vexed the wits of commentators, 
but especially these words. Muretus (following Faernus ?) 
boldly strikes out the word humani^ and understands by 
generis the Christian race ! Acidalius sees that this cannot 
be, and accordingly alters humani into Romani i they were 
condemned for hatred of the Roman race ! Indeed, it seems f) 
almost impossible that Tacitus should have written humani 
generis. Everywhere else he writes generis humani,"^ It is 
in the last degree improbable that such a consummate stylist \ 
as Tacitus would here just this once deviate from his life-long 
habit, especially as the inverse order produces with the / 
foregoing word a disagreeable hiatus : odio humani. No 
very delicate ear is needed to perceive that odio generis is / 
a much pleasanter collocation. Besides, the whole weight of 
Tacitean related usage falls against the inversion. It is the 
fixed custom of the historian to modify genus by following 
and not preceding words. Thus genus hominum (three 

* The slaughter is called immense because it struck "all" {cunctos) the 
implicated friends of Sejanus, without regard for age or sex or other condi- 
tions ; but a multitude is huge only by its mere number. 

^ As An., iii, 59 ; xii, 14 ; Hist., i, 30 ; iii, 68 ; v, 25 ; Ag., ii. Editors in 
general make no note of this fact. After this study was complete, the writer 
observed the remark of Nipperdey : ^^ humani generis, Sonst sagt Tac. stets 
in der gewohnlichen Ordnung genus humanum,''' 


times, almost the same as genus humanum), genus anima- 
lium^ belli^ militum^ mortalium^ mortis^ questus pensty 
orandi^ maiorum^ telorum, spectaculoruniy studiorum, pugnce^ 
Arsacisy vitce^ and generis regii. Apparent exceptions to 
this rule are readily seen to be due to rhetorical considera- 
tions, especially to the desire to maintain the favourite 
order : adjective, genitive (modified), noun, as in omne 
mortalium genus (An., xvi, 13), novum officii genus {Hist. ^ 
i, 20), and to make emphatic, as in oppidanum genus 
(An., vi, 15), pernix genus {Hist,^ ii, 13). We may affirm, 
then, with much confidence that the inversion in question of 
itself stamps the passage as not probably from the hand of 

By three entirely independent lines of inquiry we are led 
to precisely the same result. Look at it as you will, the 
chapter wears the appearance of being interpolated. Indeed, 
it must be, not unless one of these signs fail, but unless they 
all fail, unless all are simultaneously and in the same sense 
misleading. Even if the doubt raised by each one of these 
separate inquiries were not very strong, even if it still left 
the chances two to one in favour of the genuineness, yet the 
chance that all three would thus simultaneously deceive 
would be only eight in twenty-seven ; the chances would 
be nineteen to eight in favour of interpolation. We have no 
choice then. Coerced by this consilience of results, we must 
regard the passage as probably interpolated, unless there be 
some strong antecedent reason in favour of genuineness and 
against interpolation. 

Is there any such reason? Certainly not. The whole 
history of post-Apostolic and patristic literature shows that 
interpolation was a most familiar favourite. In fact, it would 
rather seem strange if such an opportunity had been neglected. 
We conclude, then, that this famous chapter, as it now stands, 
is with compelling probability to be ascribed to another hand 
than that of Cornelius Tacitus. But even if entirely genuine 
and uncorrupted, it would still be worthless in evidence, for 
it merely states a rumour about an alleged occurrence of 
nearly a hundred years agone. Accordingly, the passage is 


in all likelihood inadmissible in court ; but even if admitted, 
it could prove nothing to the point. 


The allusions of Suetonius to the Christians are the 
following : ** Judaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes 
Roma expulit " {ClaudiuSy xxv). " Afiflicti suppliciis Chris- 
tiani, genus hominum superstitionis novas et maleficae " 
{NerOy xvi). Both of these appear too slight for the basis of 
any judgment. 

It will be noticed that there is no reference to the Founder 
of Christianity. The force of the impulsore Chresto is un- 
certain. It may refer to some Roman Jew named Chrestus, 
who stirred up his compatriots to riot, or it may refer to 
Messianic agitation among the Jewish populace, to their 
disputes among themselves about the Messiah, the Chrestus. 
Be this as it may, there is here no implication of the life and 
death in Galilee and Judea. Dio Cassius, however, says 
(ix, 6) he ''did not expel " them, but forbade their assembling, 
and dissolved their clubs authorised by Gains. On the other 
hand. Acts xviii, 2, refers the presence in Corinth of Aquila 
and Priscilla to this decree of Claudius expelling " all the 
Jews from Rome " — a statement almost certainly exaggerated. 

The second mention occurs in a list of severe regulations 
made in Nero's time. If genuine, it would show merely 
that " Christians " were known as early as Nero, which would 
add nothing to our knowledge, and that they were on some 
occasions condignly punished. Possibly the notice in 
Tacitus is merely an expansion of the brief deliverance by 
Suetonius. A much more probable cause of the " punish- 
ments " would be some such disturbances as occurred under 
Claudius impulsore Chresto^ or provoked Tiberius to expel the 
Jews from Rome (Suet., Tib., xxxvi). Among the latter were 
included similia sectantes^ whom also Tiberius Urhe submovit 
sub poena perpetuce seTDitutis^ nisi obtemperassent. The 
sectantes are thought to be converts to Judaism ; possibly they 
were incipient Christians. The words nisi obtemperassent 
seem to indicate great turbulence or unrest among the Jews 


under Tiberius near the supposed date of the crucifixion. 
This seems intrinsically highly probable, at least to us who 
regard the whole Christian movement as the outcome of 
generations, even centuries, of agitation among Jews and 
their proselytes. Sharp separation between Jews and 
Christians does not seem possible till the second century, 
especially the era of Bar Cochab. 

The letter of Pliny to Trajan may also be quoted in this 
connection. It says nothing of the origin or Founder of 
Christianity ; at most it tells only of the practices of the 
Christians in Bithynia about no a.d. There is no implica- 
tion, not even the slightest, touching the purely human reality 
of the Christ or Jesus. Whether this correspondence of 
Trajan and Pliny be genuine or not is accordingly quite 
indifferent for the purpose of this discussion. Any investiga- 
tion of the matter would be superfluous at this stage of the 
argument. Lucian (120-200 a.d.), in his De Morte Peregrini^ 
xi, 41, in Alexander^ xxv, 31, and in the spurious' Philo- 
patrisy 12, makes mention of ** Christians " and the ''man 
impaled in Palestine," but only under the Antonines ; Dio 
Cassius also, but 220 a.d. 

Herewith the references to Christianity in pagan literature 
before 150 a.d. are exhausted. After that date the Gospel 
story had certainly taken definite form ; it is widespread 
among Christians, who are themselves numerous throughout 
the empire ; it has certainly reached the ears of the heathen, 
and any number of allusions in profane writers would merely 
attest the currency of the Gospel story, but would supply no 
testimony whatever to its authenticity. It seems useless, 
then, to quote this literature any further. We close this 
scrutiny, therefore, with this result, already announced : 
Profane history supplies no testimony whatever to the purely 
human character of Jesus, 

In order to estimate properly the value of this argument 
from silence, we must remember that apparently the profane 
writers could have had no motive in suppressing information 

* In his " Le Christianisme 4 Byzance " {Rev. Archd^ 1902, I, pp. 79-1 10), 
republished In Cultes,Mythes, et Religions, I, pp. 363-394,8. Reinach summarises 
the work of many learned predecessors, and shows clearly that Philopatris is 
the production of ** a Christian anti-humanistic Greek " towards the close of 
the tenth century. 


if they possessed it. Christianity was for them merely a 

i pernicious and despicable superstition;^ they would have,/ 

jj been rather pleased to trace it back to a criminal crucified atj| 

1' Jerusalem. On the other hand, it is unlikely that anyr 

reference by The pagans would have been allowed by the 

Christians to perish. These latter were very jealous of all 

such material of argumentation, and cherished it, as is shown 

vividly by the admitted fact that they even invented it 1 


Possibly the heathen may have felt little interest in the 
crucifixion, its antecedents, and its consequents ; but the 
same cannot be said of Josephus. As a Palestinian Jew, a 
professional historian and a chronicler, it seems altogether 
impossible that he should not have known or have heard 
of the life and death of Jesus. He tells us minutely enough, 
if somewhat obscurely, of John the Baptist (Arch,y xviii, 5, 2), 
but John was in no way comparable with Jesus. In fact, he 
fills his pages with events altogether trivial by the side of 
the words and deeds of the Nazarene. It is not only to us, 
at this 1,900 years' remove, in the perspective of history, that 
the events appear in such relative significance. There was 
nothing in the career of John to match the execution on 
Calvary ; nothing to pair with the works of Jesus, minimise 
them as you may. If Jesus was purely human, then he was 
an astounding personality ; in name and fame the Baptist 
must have been comparatively insignificant. Consider, too, 
how closely the twain were related, the Forerunner and the 
Messiah. For the gossipy annalist to know of John, but not 
of Jesus, would be as if the contemporary historian of the 
Reformation should know of Zwingli, but not of Luther. 

We dismiss, then, the hypothesis that Josephus was 
ignorant of the Christ, if the latter was purely human, as 
altogether impossible. But, knowing of him, could he have 
passed him by in silence intentionally? It seems hardly 
possible. If Josephus was a Christian (in secret), surely he 
would let pass no such opportunity to do his faith inestimable 

* The terms used by Tacitus, Pliny, and Suetonius are strikingly alike, and 
suggest, but do not prove, some kind of interdependence or common depend- 
ence : Exitiabilis superstitioy superstitionem pravam et immodicam^ super- 
stitionis novce et maleficce. 



service. If he was sincerely an orthodox Jew (as almost 
certainly he was, so the Christian writers themselves attest), 
he must have believed that his countrymen did right in 
rejecting the pretender; he must have rejoiced in their action. 
I Why, then, suppress it? Or even if he was uncertain in 
mind, then he must have pondered the matter, must have 
deemed it of high importance ; and, as it occupied his 
thoughts, why did he forbear all expression ? No ! we 
I cannot understand the silence of the historian, except on the 
'supposition that Jesus was unknown to him historically. It 
was precisely this circumstance that puzzled the Christians 
themselves of the early centuries, and induced one of them to 
cut the Gordian knot by interpolating Section 3. In fact, 
the marvel would be if some one had not made just such an 
interpolation. As already observed, such insertion of apt 
material at proper places was a favourite form of that early logic. 
Bishop Lightfoot admits, with apparent irritation, that 
Josephus has preserved a "stolid silence about Christianity," 
but thinks this " cannot be owing to ignorance ; for a sect 
which had been singled out for years before he wrote, as a 
mark for imperial vengeance at Rome, must have been only 
too well known in Judea." Of course, the allusion is to the 
Neronic persecution, and the reasoning sounds plausible. 
But we have just seen that this persecution is a matter for the 
very gravest doubt. Moreover, we see no reason why the 
Messianic agitators in Rome should take their cue from 
Palestine, or why the name " Christian " might not have 
been known in Rome even earlier than in Palestine. In 
fact, the name was not Palestinian, if we may believe Acts 
xi, 26;^ it was applied to the disciples at Antioch, and was 
for an uncertain period only on the lips of enemies (not, 
however. Christians, but Chrestians).^ We see, indeed, no 
reason why such a movement might not have started inde- 
pendently in various places and nearly simultaneously. 
That there was originally any unity or central dependence 
in the propaganda is decisively negatived by Acts in more 
than one place, as already set forth in Der vorchristliche 
Jesus. It seems unquestionable that the greatest variety of 

* Cf. xxvi, 28 ; I Peter iv, i6. 

* From XpT}(rT6s=Xpi<XT6s, Blass, Gram. N, T. Grk.^ pp. 8, 63. 


faith prevailed in the early communities ;V from Rome to 
Jerusalem no inference is allowable. 

Moreover, be it said, not only does the fact that the 
Gentile called groups of the new faith by that contemptuous 
name of " Chrestians " by no means imply that these recog- 
nised the name, and thought of themselves as distinct from 
Jews and proselytes, but the opposite seems attested by 
Acts xxi, 20, where it is said to Paul : " Thou seest, brother, 
how many myriads there are among the Jews of them that 
have believed, and all are zealots for the law." These, then, 
had by no means separated themselves from the faith of their 
fathers ; they were still one with the people. 

If, then, Josephus knew of Christianity in Palestine, as 
is likely, he knew of it as one among many shades of 
religious enthusiasm or conviction, which had not detached 
itself from the general mass, which had not yet taken 
definite shape and outline. As thus inchoate and nebulous, 
or confounded with the Essenes, it may have appeared to 
him of little significance, and easily have been passed over 
when he treated of the principal sects of Jewish philosophy 
{B, J.^ II, 8; Arch.^ xviii, i). It is only when we assume 
the current hypothesis concerning the origin of Christianity 
that the silence of Josephus appears strange and '^ stolid." 
But if it came ''not by observation," so that one could say, 
" Lo here ! "; if its coming was like the gentle play of summer 
lightning, illuming the whole circuit of the Mediterranean, 
shining all round nearly simultaneously, it may very well 
have long escaped recognition as a distinct phenomenon. 
Especially if, as seems now to be proved decisively,^ it was 
in large measure a mystery-v^X\g\ow propagated in great 
secrecy, if it was first heard in the ear and only much later 
proclaimed on the house-top, ^ if the "beautiful deposit"^ of 
doctrine was committed to the novitiate under solemn and 
awful circumstances, and only after " the beautiful con- 
fession " had been made under imposition of hands ''before 
many witnesses,"^ then such a secret cult, carefully "guarded," 

^ "Z^s sectes, si nombreuses dks les premiers temps du Christianisme." 
(Reinach, Cultes, Mythes, et Religions^ i, 397.) 

= In the present volume. 3 Matt, x, 27 ; Luke xii, 3. 

4 TrapadriKif], i Tim. vi, 20; 2 Tim. i, 12, 14. 5 i Tim. vi, 12, 13. 


might long escape the notice, or at least the interested atten- 
tion, of a Josephus. Such reflections seem to break com- 
pletely the force of the great Bishop's argument, of which 
the sinew lies in the tacit assumption of all that theory of the 
beginnings of Christianity which we set out to disprove. 

How, then, shall we sum up the situation ? Thus : — 

{a) It is morally certain that the Josephine passage 
{Arch., xviii, 3, 3) is a Christian interpolation. 

{b) The Josephine passage concerning James {Arch., xx, 
9, i) has certainly been tampered with by Christian hands, 
and, as it now reads, is almost surely an interpolation. 

{c) The chapter in Tacitus lies under the very gravest 

{d) The sentences in Suetonius may be genuine, but they 
attest nothing strictly relevant. Like may be said of the 
Pliny-Trajan correspondence. 

{e) Even if the utmost should be conceded to these pagan 
authorities, they would still bear witness to two things only : 
(i) That so early as Nero there were so-called Christians or 
Chrestians in Rome, and that they fell under the extreme 
displeasure of that emperor. (2) That so early as perhaps 
A.D. 117 the origin of the Christian cult was referred to a 
Christ that was said to have been crucified in Judea by Pontius 
Pilate (say a.d. 30) eighty or ninety years, nearly three 
generations, before. 

Further than this these profane depositions do not go. 
It is seen at once that they do not touch the real point at issue, 
and we may now re-state as fully proved our first thesis ; 
Extant profane literature is silent concerning the life, career, 
and death of a purely human Founder of Christianity. 

But may there not be non-extant profane testimony, over 
which the oblivion of centuries has settled ? Impossible ! 
For remember that the Christians were keen-witted and 
numerous ; that they were nurtured in age-long controversy ; 
that they had every reason, incentive, and opportunity to 
preserve any and every profane witness to the traditional 
origin of their system, which would have been invaluable in 
their debate with unbelievers. Men like Justin, who peered 
into every cranny and crevice of Scripture for confirmation of 
their story, like Clement and the apologists who ransacked 


every corner of pagan literature for materials of argument, 
like Melito and Tertullian and the whole industrious hive of 
interpolators and pseudonymists who invented history and 
scriptures wholesale as needed — not six generations of these, 
one and all, would have neglected or overlooked any and 
every profane testimony in their own behalf, when even a 
single one would have been the end of controversy. 

No ! The fact that no Christian writer cites any such 
testimony is decisive proof that there was no such testimony 
to cite ; and we may now finally affirm that the negative 
external witness, of contemporaneous history and literature, 
is as clear, as strong, as complete, as conclusive, as in the 
nature of the case it is possible for such witness to be. The 
negative internal witness of the New Testament itself has 
already been found to be eloquent and unequivocal. Positive 
counter-proofs in great number and variety all converge like 
meridians upon the same thesis. In a word, the purely human 
Jesus of the critics is denied and the Divine Jesus of Proto- 
Christianity is affirmed by every form of consideration that 
has yet been adduced. What else is needed to shape the 
judgment of unbiassed reason ? 


The reader may not unnaturally ask, *' But what has the 
illustrious Guglielmo Ferrero to say on this subject?" His 
notable work on the Greatness and Decline of Rome comes 
down to 14 A. D., just half-a-century short of the Conflagration ; 
but elsewhere, as in his Lecture on Nero {Characters and 
Events of Roman History^ pp. 103- 141), he glances at the 
flames, though scarcely with a severely critical eye. **The 
history of Cassar's family, as it has been told by Tacitus and 
Suetonius," he expressly rates as a mere "sensational novel, a 
legend containing not much more truth than the legend of [the] 
Atrides " (p. 138); and yet, strange to say, precisely where 

this novel is least credible, where it ceases to be intelligible 



even, and where the apparent attestation is reduced one-half, 
being that of Tacitus alone, unsupported by Suetonius, pre- 
cisely there he accepts it eagerly, not merely at par, but rather 
at a premium, and without the smallest grain of critical salt 
to save it. Witness the following quotations : — 

"An inquiry into the causes of the conflagration was 
ordered. The inquest came to a strange conclusion. The 

fire had been started by a small religious sect whose 

name most people then learned for the first time : the Chris- 

" How did the Roman authorities come to such a con- 
clusion ? That is one of the greatest mysteries of universal 
history, and no one will ever be able to clear it. If the 
explanation of the disaster as accepted by the people 
was absurd, the official explanation was still more so " 

(P- 130- 

And again: " but it certainly was not philosophical 

considerations of this kind that led the Roman authorities to 

rage against the Christians. The problem, I repeat, is 

insoluble. However this may be, the Christians were 

declared responsible for the fire ; a great number were 

taken into custody, sentenced to death, executed in different 

ways, during the festivals that Nero offered to the people to 

appease them. Possibly Paul himself was one of the victims 

of this persecution " (p. 133). 

" Behold how small a fire how great a wood enkindles ! " 
How much more about this ** inquiry " and " inquest " does 
Ferrero know than did Tacitus, and yet Tacitus is Ferrero's 
only authority, and that, too, an authority already emphatically 
discredited as " a sensational novel " ! The plant of history 
would seem to be a hardy annual, and at times might be 
likened to a grain of mustard-seed. It is interesting to 
surprise it now and then as it grows. 

But the important point is that the brilliant Italian 
distinctly and repeatedly declares "the problem is insoluble." 
And well he may. For while no one will question the keen- 
ness of his analytic faculty or the vigour of his reconstructive 
imagination, yet even these and more can hardly avail to 
make clear the general detestation of the few " pious idealists " 
whom "the people used to call Christians," while the same 


name had never yet been heard "by the most of the people"; 
or how to explain how "a great number" (strictly "an 
immense multitude " — as Church and Brodrib render it) 
could be sentenced and executed out of " a small and peaceful 

Gibbon, and more especially Schiller, have argued that it 
was the Jews who were slaughtered in such numbers and 
amid such torments. Impossible, as we have seen ; for in 
that case Josephus would have known and made mention of 
such a calamity to his countrymen. And why should 
Tacitus commit the blunder of substituting the nearly un- 
known Christians for the familiar Jews? Others have 
guessed that the Jews under the patronage of Poppasa incited 
Nero against the Christians — their own kinsmen ! But not 
only is this conjecture a wholly gratuitous calumny on the 
Jews, but it presupposes a bitter hatred and an ancient grudge 
of Jews against their Christian brothers, such as was unreal 
and impossible at that time even in Jerusalem, much more 
among the liberal Jews of the Dispersion (compare Acts 
xxi, 20; xxviii, 17-25). Moreover, if the Jews had slandered 
the Christians in such infamous and ruinous fashion, why 
does not at least one among so many Christian authors, all 
of whom would have eagerly exploited any such fact or any 
such rumour, make some mention or give some hint of such 
a prodigious iniquity ? No ! Ferrero is right, and his 
admission is significant : it is quite impossible to under- 
stand the " mystery " of the Tacitean passage regarded as 
genuine ; " no one will ever be able to clear it." What, then, 
is the obvious suggestion ? Is it not that the incomprehen- 
sible chapter is spurious, or at least altered beyond recogni- 
tion from some unknown original ? 

The temptation is great to hazard some speculation as to 
the genesis of this chapter (44), and to connect it with the 
strange fortunes of the Annals, as preserved in the two 
unique Medicean manuscripts ; however, we will not put 
forth upon any such sea of conjecture, but will hug close the 
safe shore of Ferrero's avowal that the assumed "genuine- 
ness of the passage in Tacitus " — so far from being " not open 
to reasonable doubt " — confronts us with an insoluble 
riddle, "one of the greatest mysteries of universal history." 



The foregoing article having very naturally provoked hostile 
criticism, it may be well to note some of the more important, 
and at the same time to introduce some additional evidence. 

It has been urged, as by Kampmeier (The Monist, 
January, 191 1, p. 112), that "the Tacitus passage is copied 
by Sulpicius Severus " (Neque ulla re Nero efficiebat, quin 
ab eo jussum incendium putaretur. Igitur vertit invidiam 
in ChristianoSy actseque in innoxios crudelissimse quces- 
tiones ; quin et novae mortes excogitatae ut ferarum tergis 
contecti laniatu canum interirent. Multi crucihus affixi aut 
flamma usti, plerique in id reservati, ut cum defecisset dies, 
in usum nocturni luminis urerentur. — Chron.^ ii, 29). It is 
seen that, although neither author has copied *' almost 
verbally," yet the agreements in phrase (here in italics) are 
in at least two places so marked as to exclude the notion of 
independent origin. But what is the dependence? There 
is no reason to suppose that Sulpicius has taken from 
Tacitus (except that his date is near 400 a.d.). Indeed, it 
seems far likelier that the author of the Tacitean passage 
has simply worked up the Sulpician passage, or perhaps 
still likelier that each is drawing from some unknown 
common source. Nothing can be proved decisively at this 

It is vain to urge that Sulpicius has apparently drawn 
upon Tacitus in describing the unnatural nuptials of Nero. 
Says Tacitus in Ann. xv, 37 : "Ipse per licita atque inlicita 
fcedatus nihil flagitii reliquerat quo corruptior ageret, nisi 
paucos post dies uni ex illo contaminatorum grege (nomen 
Pythagorce fuit) in modum solemnium conjugiorum denup- 
sisset, Inditum imperatori flammeuni^ visi auspices, dos et 
genialis torus et faces nuptiales, cuncta denique spectata, 
quce etiam in femina nox operit." And Sulpicius {Chron,, 
ii, 28, 2) : " Adnotasse contentus sum hunc eo processisse ut 
Pythagorce cuidam in modum solemniorum conjugiorum 


nuheret ; inditumque imperatori flammeum, dos et genialis 
torus et faces nuptiales, cuncta denique qucB vel in femina 
non sine verecundia conspiciuntur spectata.^^ 

The coincidences are italicised, and it is seen even more 
clearly that the passages are not independent. Yet it by no 
means follows that Sulpicius was quoting from Tacitus. 
For Tacitus himself had his sources (since he wrote at nearly 
two generations' remove from Nero), which are quite 
unknown to us, but must almost certainly have contained 
some such specifications as appear now in the two historians. 
There is, then, no good reason why the two may not be 
quoting from a common source. Precisely such phenomena 
meet us at every turn in historico-literary investigations. 

But even if it were granted that Sulpicius is here quoting 
from Tacitus, we could not conclude that he was quoting in 
the other case likewise. That would be such an out-and-out 
inference from particular to particular as even Mill would 
not allow. Ifj indeed, we knew that Sulpicius had quoted 
from Tacitus in the one case, and if we knew that the Tacitean 
passage existed at the time of Sulpicius in the other case, 
then we might with probability conclude that Sulpicius was 
quoting the passage as from Tacitus in the other case. Even 
then we could still not conclude (in the presence of the con- 
siderations already adduced) that the passage was actually 
written by Tacitus, if we were not sure that Tacitus had not 
been interpolated — and sure we can never be. In view, 
then, of all these facts, especially of these three ifs^ it appears 
impossible to find in Sulpicius any valuable evidence against 
the view here maintained. Indeed, it seems strange to call 
into court such witnesses as Sulpicius Severus and the 
fabricators of the Paul-Seneca correspondence. When all 
the elder witnesses are dumb, will you break silence with 
words not uttered till nearly 300 years after the event in 
question ? Will you establish by an obscure chronicler of 
to-day some all-important feature of the London fire of 1666, 
some supreme dramatic moment unattested by Pepys or 
any other authority? Such is not the method of historical 

Some persons in desperation have referred to certain lines 
in Juvenal, Seneca, Martial ; but these do not seem worth 


any notice whatever. At best and at most they can merely 
attest what is not in dispute — namely, that such cruel and 
unusual punishments were not so unusual as we might desire 
or suppose. But this makes not against but for the supposi- 
tion that the Tacitean passage is supposititious. For the 
inventor would naturally invent along the lines of common 
knowledge, and would not needlessly fly in the face of 

Some years ago attention was emphatically called to the 
supposed testimony of that notable mosaic, the '' Ascension 
of Isaiah," to the supposed martyrdom of Peter under Nero, 
and it is now recalled thereto, as by Kampmeier and others. 
Without discussing the " Beliar " of this ''Ascension," it 
may suffice to cite the very recent judgment of Weinel, who 
displays notoriously little sympathy with the new criticism 
(Hennecke's Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, p. 205) : *' It 
were indeed most highly interesting, if we had here an older 
witness of the martyrdom of Peter in Rome ; but that cannot 
be made certain." 

It is a grave mistake to suppose that early Christian 
writers had no temptation to cite profane witness to the 
historicity of the Jesus, because ** that was a settled fact " 
with " their Christian readers." It was not ''a settled fact" 
even with all ''Christian readers." The existence of the 
Docetists and other still more enlightened Gnostics, as well 
as the fierce polemic of Tertullian, Irenceus, and others, 
shows clearly that this so-called " fact " was questioned, and 
even rejected, in many Christian quarters. Besides, these 
Christian writers did by no means write merely for " Christian 
readers." Often they had a pagan audience in mind. Their 
frequent " Apologies " and " Exhortations " were addressed 
exclusively to the " Gentiles " or " Greeks." Moreover, their 
bitter need of historical attestation is unequivocally witnessed 
by their repeated invention of just such attestations, as in 
Josephus and Tertullian (already cited, p. 243), in Justin 
and others. 

The all-important — indeed, the decisive — moment in the 
whole matter, which was perhaps not sufficiently stressed in 
the original article and cannot be stressed too strongly, is 
this : It is not now, and has never been, denied that Nero 


may have persecuted Christians, may even have executed 
some, possibly Paul or Peter, or both. On this point we 
have no decisive evidence. The writer has no interest of 
any kind in questioning- over-strictly the supposed testimonies 
to a Neronian persecution. It is the Tacitean persecution, 
described in the famous forty-fourth chapter, that is called in 
question, as admittedly inexplicable, and not only unsupported 
by testimony, but virtually excluded by unbroken silence in 
every quarter, even where its fame would have resounded 
loudest and longest. Here is the heart of the matter. It is 
vain to pile up hints of a mere Neronian persecution, even were 
they wholly unambiguous and not so hopelessly equivocal ; 
all such are irrelevant. It is the Tacitean persecution that 
calls for verification, and none is forthcoming. When the 
skull of a man is broken, it is idle to fix attention on a fracture 
of his arm. Now, since it is not pretended that Tacitus 
invented the story in question, in discrediting the authen- 
ticity we also discredit the genuineness, as it stands. What 
may have lain at its base it is needless to conjecture. — That 
this Tacitean account can hardly be accepted at its face-value 
seems to be growing clearer even to the liberal critical con- 
sciousness. Witness the recent work of Geffcken, Aus der 
Werdezeit des Christentums, 

Since one apocryphal document (" Ascension of Isaiah ") 
has been called to the stand, it may be well to admit some 
others. In the " Martyrdom of Paul " (Lipsius, Acta 
Apocrypha^ I, 102-107), referred by Zahn to a.d. 150-180, 
we find the Apostle executed by Nero in the midst of a fierce 
persecution at Rome, which, however, is wholly unrelated 
to the conflagration ; the Tacitean passage and motive are 
not only not mentioned, they are plainly excluded. Of 
course, the whole story is fiction ; but if the forty-fourth 
chapter, or any tradition consistent with that chapter, had 
been known to the apocryphist, it is hardly possible that 
he would have unnecessarily contradicted it by necessary 
implication. Again, in the Acts of Peter (Lipsius, A, A,^ 
I, 45-103), according to Schmidt dating from a.d. 200-210, 
we find this pillar Apostle also executed under Nero, hut by 
the prefect Agrippa and for personal reasons, his preaching 
having alienated many wives and concubines from their 


husbands and lords.^ Thereupon Nero is angry, having 
wished to punish Peter still more severely, refuses to speak 
with Agrippa, and meditates the extermination of all the 
brethren discipled by Peter, but is dissuaded by a vision, 
and remains satisfied with the sole sacrifice of the Apostle. 
Here, again, the Tacitean account, along with any similar 
tradition, is positively excluded. To be sure, this martyrdom 
is imaginary, at least in its details ; but the mere imagination 
shows convincingly that the great Neronian persecution in 
connection with the conflagration, as detailed in the forty- 
fourth chapter, had no place in the Christian consciousness of 
that author, and hence of that era. When we turn to the 
Acts of John, we see how eager these romancers were to 
attach their fancies to historical facts. Had any such attach- 
ment been possible in the case of the martyrdoms of Paul 
and Peter, it would have been zealously effected. The 
complete absence of this Tacitean persecution from attested 
Christian consciousness, in which it would have rooted itselt 
ineradicably, cannot be understood without impugning the 
actuality of the persecution itself. 

Finally, the whole story presents all the hall-marks of a 
fiction, of a gradual growth in the Christian mind. The 
nearer we approach the event in question, the vaguer and 
dimmer it becomes. As we touch it, lo ! it dissolves into 
air. For one hundred years after its supposed occurrence 
the mighty persecution is not mentioned. The earliest 
Christian writers, those who would certainly have had a 
personal or next to personal knowledge of the alleged 
execution (of the Christians as incendiaries), betray no con- 
sciousness that anything of the kind had ever taken place. 
They speak fluently about the sufferings and martyrdoms 
of their brethren. Some allusions to the alleged Neronian 
holocaust lay directly across their path. Why do they all 
avoid it? In the second century the notion of Nero as per- 
secutor begins to present itself more and more frequently, 
and details of his cruelty multiply more and more. Still 
there is no hint of any Tacitean persecution, of any con- 
nection with the great conflagration ; on the contrary, such 

* Is this an echo of the words of Clemens Romanus : " Zeal hath alienated 
wives from husbands " (vi) ? 


a connection is by implication emphatically excluded. At 
length, in the fourth century, it is suggested, in a fabricated 
correspondence, that Christians and Jews had been punished 
as incendiaries. At last, in the fifth century, we read the 
details in the terse Sulpicius, "the Christian Sallust." In 
the famous forty-fourth chapter of the Annals of Tacitus 
we find still greater elaboration. The suggestion seems 
irresistible that the chapter represents an advanced stage of 
a process that had been slowly at work for hundreds of years. 
Are not such evolutions familiar to the student of history? 
Does he hesitate to recognise them when much less clearly 
revealed in profane records ? Do not precedents for such 
interpolations abound ? Was there not the strongest motive 
and even temptation to give historic colour to the whole 
Christian doctrine, especially to its central concept, the 
Jesus? Does not even Tertullian (in the passage quoted) 
dare to represent Tiberius as convinced by '* intelligence 
from Syria Palestine"? Does not Justin {A.^ i, 35, 48) still 
earlier appeal to a fictive official report of the trial of 
Jesus ?^ In fact, unless I widely err, this strain towards 
historisation, especially in the Western Church, has been 
the main determinant of old Christian literature and dogma. 

It is both interesting and important to note that Windisch 
(TheoL Rundschau^ April, 1912, p. 117), though unsympa- 
thetically reviewing Ecce Deus^ seems to concede the con- 
tentions of this Part IV practically in full, saying: ''The 
ungenuineness of the Christ-passages in Josephus is strikingly 
demonstrated ; fully as worthy of attention appear to me his 
deductions (Ausfuchrungen) concerning Tacitus." 

^ e/c TUiv eVt W-Ovrlov IltXdrou yevojxivwv Ektojv. 




The census of the use in the New Testament of the term 
"Kingdom "is at first sight rather formidable. Its appear- 
ances number fifty-four in Matthew, nineteen in Mark, forty- 
four in Luke ; but only four in John, eight in Acts, one in 
Romans, four in i Cor., one in Galatians, one in Ephesians, 
two in Colossians, one each in i and 2 Thessalonians, two 
in 2 Timothy, three in Hebrews, one in James, one in 
2 Peter, six in Revelation. Let the Millian logicians 
depreciate perfect induction as they may, such a complete 
enumeration as the foregoing can hardly fail to be instructive, 
whether or no it involve any sure inference. Some things, 
at least, appear to lie on its very face. It is plain that as a 
ruling idea the Kingdom is present in the Synoptics in a 
sense in which it is not present in any of the other New 
Testament writings. But even in these it is by no means 
present in equal measure. Deducting five references in 
Matthew, as many in Mark, and six in Luke, as not to the 
Kingdom of God, we have for the Synoptics in order forty- 
nine, fourteen, thirty-eight. It is seen that the use in Mark 
is not of the same order of magnitude as in Matthew and 
Luke. This may be due in a measure to the prevailing 
narrative form of Mark, whereas Matthew and Luke are more 
concerned with sayings, parables, and discourses. 

We notice further that ** Kingdom of the heavens " is 
almost the exclusive form in Matthew, occurring thirty-three 
times ; only four times we find *' the Kingdom of God " 
(xii, 28; xix, 24; xxi, 31, 43), and three times there is a 
reference to ** Thy Kingdom," or *'The Father's Kingdom" 



(vi, lo, ; xiii, 43 ; xxvi, 29), once to the " Kingdom of the 
Son of Man " (xvi, 28) ; other sporadic cases do not call for 
notice. In Mark, however, the *' Kingdom of God " appears 
fourteen times, the other uses being sporadic. In Luke the 
" Kingdom of God " appears thirty-two times ; the other 
uses are scattered, and from both Mark and Luke the 
Matthsean form, "Kingdom of the heavens," is entirely- 
absent. Elsewhere " Kingdom of God " appears thirteen 
times ; " Kingdom of the heavens " never. This latter 
phrase, then, is strictly Matthaean. It might seem to charac- 
terise the author himself (or his school) rather than his source, 
for in the parallel passages in the Gospels we find the one 
form in the first, the other in the second and third — e.g,^ 
*' Nigh is come the Kingdom of the heavens " (Matthew iii, 2 ; 
X, 7), but " Nigh is come the Kingdom of God " (Mark i, 15 ; 
Luke X, 11). It seems strange, then, that the ''Kingdom of 
God " should appear at all in Matthew. In one case (xix, 24) 
" Kingdom of the heavens " is preferred by Tischendorf ; in 
another (xii, 28) the whole verse is unrepresented in Mark, 
but agrees almost exactly with Luke (xi, 20), whence it would 
seem to be a later insertion — a conjecture greatly strengthened 
by the use of (jidavio in the late (Alexandrine) sense of come, 
a word not elsewhere found in the Gospels. The other two 
examples in Matthew are found in xxi, 31, 43 — in a chapter 
whose text makes us often pause. Clearly it has been subject 
to much alteration. In the parable of the two sons, in the 
answer of the Jews, it was with the Christian Fathers a 
question whether should be read ''the first" or " the last." 
The Sinaitic Syriac confirms the reading " the first," against 
the judgment of Tischendorf ; some primitive corruption is 
certainly present. The verse 31 can lay no claim to origi- 
nality ; it seems to be a late addition. Similarly verse 43 is 
in a region of proved interpolation ; verse 44 is no longer 
adopted in critical texts. The late character of verse 43 is 
plain on its face, for the writer speaks of taking away the 
Kingdom of God from the Jews and giving it to another 
people, an idea utterly discordant with the notion of the 
Kingdom that prevails in the Gospel — namely, of something 
coming, but not then possessed by the Jews ; yea, in fact, 
never possessed by them. Hence we may with confidence 


mark all these passages as late accretions to the earlier form 
of the Gospel, which then appears never to have used the 
phrase '' Kingdom of God." 

Hereby the first Gospel is distinctly marked as Hebraic, 
as in large measure thought out, if not, indeed, more or less 
completely composed originally, in Aramaic. In later Old 
Testament writings Deity is spoken of as God of heaven 
(2 Chr. xxxvi, 23 ; Ez. i, 2, efpasst?n; Neh. i, 4, 5; ii, 4, 20 ; 
Jon. i, 9 ; Dan. ii, 18, el passim ; once, indeed, Dan. iv, 23, 
** Until thou have known that rulers are heavens," heaven 
seems to be identified with God). In i Maccabees the name 
of God is avoided, heaven and other circumlocutions taking 
its place. The Rabbis also shunned the awful name, often 
using ''Place" (Maqom; cp, the Gnostic Topos) instead. 
Wetstein (on Matthew xxi, 25) illustrates the frequent 
Talmudic use of heaven instead of God. It is indeed plain 
and undisputed that the Matthasan form breathes a genuine 
Hebraic spirit. But when Wellhausen says that the people, 
especially in Galilee, were in Jesus's day not so far advanced, 
and that he spake as the people and not as the scribes, we 
recognise the opinion of a great critic ; yet we cannot quite 
recognise " he spake as the people " as the equivalent of *' he 
taught as one having authority." When Wellhausen further 
says that Jesus calls God regularly God, and not the Father 
in heaven, one would hardly suppose that in Matthew, where 
this latter term so abounds, he names God thirty times, and 
in Mark only twenty. There is, then, no avoidance of the 
word " God " by the Jesus of Matthew ; and Wellhausen's 
reason for regarding '* Kingdom of God " as the original 
expression seems imaginary. 

The statistics of this word " Father " as applied to God 
are, indeed, not without interest. In Matthew we find it so 
used forty-five times ; in Mark, five ; in Luke, seventeen ; in 
John, 118; in Acts, three (all at the beginning — i, 4, 7; 
ii, 33) ; in Romans and i Cor., each four; in 2 Cor., five; 
in Gal., four ; in Eph., eight ; in Phil., three ; in Col., four ; 
in I Thes., four; in 2 Thes., three; in i Tim., two; in 
2 Tim, one ; in Titus, one ; in Philm., one ; in Heb., three ; 
in James, three ; in i Peter, three ; in 2 Peter, one ; in 
I John, twelve ; in 2 John, four ; in Jude, one ; in Rev., five. 


The term is seen to be familiar to nearly every page of the 
New Testament, but an especial favourite with John, and in 
less degree with Matthew and the author of Ephesians. 
This fact is interesting as characterising the circles of 
thought from which these compositions emanated, but it has 
no significance as indicating aught about the Jesus. 

The conception of this Kingdom, whether of God or of 
the heavens, seems to be unmistakably and very distinctly 
Hebraic. In the book of Daniel we find (ii, 44) that "the 
God of heaven shall set up a kingdom that shall never be 
destroyed." In iv, 3, " His Kingdom (is) an everlasting 
Kingdom," "from ason to aeon" (34). In vii, 13, 14, this 
everlasting and indestructible Kingdom is given (seemingly 
by the Ancient of Days, primeval deity) to "One like the 
Son of Man," apparently to a man-like Being, in contra- 
distinction from the beasts to which transient dominion had 
been given, which can signify nothing but the people Israel. 
In vii, 18, 22, 25, 27, it is specified that this everlasting, 
imperishable Kingdom belonged of right and of fact to the 
"saints of the Most High," who are therefore symbolised by 
the manlike figure. In the first seven chapters of Daniel 
the preferential term for Kingdom is Malku^ which, being 
the Chaldee form, is almost peculiar to Daniel, who uses it 
fifty-five times (used also in Ezra four times) ; in the next 
chapters, viii, x, xi, the term uniformly used (thirteen times) 
is Malkuth (used also in i, i, 20; ii, i), which, however, 
occurs in eleven other books of the Old Testament, but is yet 
a later form rare in earlier Hebrew. This fact seems inter- 
esting as indicating certain otherwise well-known lines of 
cleavage in Daniel, Other familiar Hebrew terms for 
Kingdom, as Melukah, Mamlakah, and Mamlakuth, do not 
occur in Daniel (except Melukah in i, 3, in the sense of 
King). In the Talmud use varies between Malku and 
Malkutha (Syriac). 


It thus appears that the earliest form of the conception 
was Kingdom of God (as early as Psalm cxlv, 11, 13, though 
the phrase itself does not yet occur) — that is. Kingdom 


established by God and possessed by the Saints (Israel), in 
which, therefore, God, the One God, was worshipped. As 
the term '* God " came to be used less and less, being 
supplanted by such paraphrases as "Heaven," "Place," 
"the Holy Blessed He," " Lord of Ages," " Who spake, and 
all became," " Alone of the Ages," etc., the original Kingdom 
of God became regularly Kingdom of the Heavens {Malkuth 
Hash-Shamayyim). When this latter phrase is found 
exclusively in Matthew, the former exclusively in Mark and 
Luke, the indication is clear that the two phrases (the former 
more Judaically coloured) have proceeded from different 
spheres of influence ; but no inference as to the Jesus having 
used the latter, having spoken as did the people, appears 
to be allowed or suggested. 

Weber has shown clearly that in rabbinic circles the 
Kingdom of God or the Heavens was equivalent to the 
Kingdom of the Law ; to take on the latter was to take on 
the former ; where reigned the Law, there reigned God — and 
conversely. But even here the idea of an organisation was 
not absent. The Kingdom did not consist in the mind or 
temper or obedience of the individual, but in the organised 
totality of all the subjects of the law, of the worshippers of the 
One God. The individuals are members of the Kingdom, as 
the native or naturalised American is a citizen of the United 
States. Of course, such cannot be the New Testament sense, 
in so far as the Laiso is concerned ; and yet this latter sense 
must be closely related to the rabbinic, and is, in fact, 
derivable therefrom, on changing Law into Gospel. 

Into the wilderness of discussion concerning the Messianic 
expectation and related notions — as of the Son of Man — it is 
not our purpose to enter at presents The one point to be 

* The question concerning- the " Son of Man " and the flock of cognate ideas 
and problems is one of the most obscure and intricate hieroglyphs that have 
ever puzzled the investigator. It seems hardly proper to broach such a deep- 
rooted and wide-branching theme unless in its own especial volume. It is 
enough at this point to state the fact, of which the proof is reserved, that all 
the meridians of evidence converge on the propositions that both the systematic 
application of the term to Jesus in the Gospels and the equally systematic non- 
application in the other New Testament Scriptures, as well as the extra- 
canonic witness, Jewish, pagan, apocryphal, show that the term, however 
derived, denoted not a mere man, a magnetic rabbi, but a heavenly and divine 
Being, who might, indeed, appear, like Zeus or even Jehovah, clothed in the 
garment of humanity, but is entirely misunderstood when conceived as a man, 


made clear is that throughout the New Testament, particularly 
in the Gospels, the Kingdom is some kind of organisation. 
In most cases this is so plain that any attempt at proof the 
reader might resent as superfluous and almost insulting. In 
a few, however, the sense is not so near the surface, and there 
might possibly be— indeed, there has been — some diversity of 
opinion. It will be necessary, then, to examine New Testa- 
ment usage, especially in the Gospels, with sortie care, 
particularly the very rare cases in which there might seem 
to be some reason for doubt. In Mark the Kingdom is 
uniformly represented as an organisation, or even as an 
organism, especially as growing gradually in secret (iv, ii, 
26-32), and as something that one enters (ix, 47 ; x, 23, 
24, 25), even as one is admitted into a society. Only one 
expression might at first sound strange : '' Whoever shall 
not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in 
nowise enter therein. And having called them,' he blessed 
them, laying his hands upon them " (x, 15, 16). But the 
rabbis spoke of taking on the Kingdom in taking on the law, 
and Mark's phrase appears aimed at the Jewish party, who 
were unwilling to receive the Kingdom of God composed 
mainly of such little children — that is, of Gentile converts. 

In Matthew the same representation is found. In xiii, 41 
(" they shall gather out of his Kingdom all that cause 
stumblings," etc.) the reference to organisation is particularly 
clear. In Luke only we find two verses (xvii, 20, 21) that 
might possibly indicate that the Kingdom is something 
internal, a state of mind. ''The Kingdom of God cometh 
not with observation ;"* nor will they say, lo ! here it is, or 
there it is; for lo ! the Kingdom of God is among you."^ 

the son of Joseph and Mary. See Schmidt's exhaustive treatment in the 
Encyclop<Edia Btblica (" Son of Man "), Reitzenstein's Poimandres, Hertlein's 
close-reasoned monograph, Die Menschensohnfrage im letzten Stadium^ and 
Badham's article on "The Title ' Son of Man'" in the Theol. Tijdschr. (191 1), 
pp. 395-448, which finds that " ' Second Adam ' or * Saviour ' was the meaning 
which attached to the term when the Gospels were written." 

' So reads Z>, also the Sinaitic Syriac ; the " taking them in his arms " is a 
later sentimental variation. It seems clear that *' laying his hands upon them " 
indicates them as standing before him, not as already in his arms. Note also 
Burkitt's rendering of verse 13 : "And they brought near to him children, that 
he should lay his hand upon them." Embrace is not contemplated, and almost 

^ /lerA irapaTTjpi^a-eus. 3 ivrb^ iifiwv. 


This text is the Gibraltar of liberal critics, who translate it 
" within you," " in your hearts," not *' among you," and main- 
tain strenuously that their Jesus herewith formally rejects the 
current notion of the Kingdom as something external or 
political or social-organic, and sublimes the concept into that 
of a great internal all-regulative and transvaluating spiritual 
Idea. Let us hear one of the very greatest, who has brought 
so much light from the Old Testament to the New. Well- 
hausen translates Ivtoq vjulCiv by " Innerhalb von euch," and 
adds, "es ist inwendig von euch." "It is, therefore, some- 
thing quite other than the future kingdom of the Jews" — 
which may be readily granted. " But it is also not the 
Christian community [which can by no means be granted] 
which in Matthew is ordinarily understood thereby" — where 
ordinarily (gewohnlich) will bear a great deal of emphasis. 
**The IvToq signifies more than Iv \ik<st,^ (in the midst)." 
Where is the proof? " Rather is the Kingdom of God here, 
just as in the parable of the leaven, conceived as a 
principle that works invisibly in the hearts of individuals." 
A beautiful modern thought, which Chamberlain has exploited 
fully, but entirely foreign to the New Testament. Observe 
that Wellhausen gives no proof whatever. He adopts this 
interpretation in the teeth of all precedent and evidence, 
solely because it conforms to the liberal " Jesusbild," itself a 
mere imagination. He himself declares, in the next sen- 
tence, speaking of the correct view, which he declares " alto- 
gether impossible ": "To be sure, in the following address to 
the disciples it is nevertheless treated as possible." In fact, 
he admits an inherent inconsistency (innere Differenz) 
between his own interpretation and the notion of the 
Kingdom elsewhere present in the Gospels. The truth is, 
his exegesis is quite without any support in the Gospels, or 
even in the whole New Testament. The illustrious critic 
adduces, and can adduce, only one even apparent parallel — 
the parable of the leaven. But is this a real parallel? Read 
the two parables (Matthew xiii, 31-33; Luke xiii, 18-21). 
The first likens the Kingdom to a grain of mustard-seed, 
smaller than all the seeds, but growing up to be a veritable 
tree, in whose branches birds may dwell. What is the 
meaning ? Is the Kingdom here a principle in the heart 


of the individual? Impossible ! It is manifestly an organisa- 
tion, at first inconspicuous, gradually assuming colossal 
proportions — which consists perfectly with the idea elsewhere 
presented in the Gospels. But the second parable? Since 
the two are given in immediate connection by both Evan- 
gelists, the presumption is that they present the same or 
similar ideas under varying imagery. " Another parable. 
Like is the Kingdom of the heavens to leaven, which a 
woman took and hid in three measures of meal till all was 
leavened." That is, the Kingdom is an organisation hid 
now in the great mass of society, but gradually extending 
itself till it includes the whole. What truer or clearer picture 
of the Kingdom, of the Jesus-cult, of Christianity, could be 
desired? Why seek for some other meaning when a per- 
fectly satisfactory meaning lies on the open hand? Well- 
hausen himself cannot deny that the meal typifies "a foreign 
substance (the world or the Jewish people?)," but he thinks 
the Kingdom is ''ein durchdringendes Prinzip." The King- 
dom a permeative principle ! Do permeative principles grow 
like mustard-plants ? He himself perceives that this is mere 
fancy ; for he says in the next sentence : " It is, however, 
notwithstanding the Christian community." There! the cat 
has escaped from the bag ! Call it a penetrative principle if 
you will ; but the leaven, the Kingdom, remains the Christian 
community, the secret organisation of the primitive disciples, 
who are themselves called "the salt of the earth," salting and 
saving the whole social body. 

It seems, then, that this, Wellhausen's only parallel 
passage, runs directly counter to his own interpretation. It 
must now be added that the translation of IvTog vfiCyv by 
" within you " is quite impossible, for it is the Pharisees 
that are addressed, who are certainly not here conceived as 
having the Kingdom in their hearts. Wellhausen perceives 
the difficulty, at least partially, and speaks of this address as 
"auffallend" (surprising), but offers no explanation. Still 
more, however, the Sinaitic Syriac relieves all doubt on the 
subject by declaring unambiguously " among you " (" unter 
euch," as Merx renders it), and not *' within you"; so Burkitt 
translates : *' For lo, the Kingdom of God among you ! " 

Only a word is necessary concerning the "observation." 


Since the organisation was secret, since the cult was carefully 
guarded in mysteries and parables, of course the Kingdom 
came not with observation, with any open show or manifes- 
tation, and men could not say of it, " Lo, it is here, or lo, 
it is there." Nothing, then, remains unexplained in this 
celebrated passage, which turns out to be in complete accord 
with the general New Testament doctrine of the Kingdom. 
To dwell on such verses as John xviii, 36, Romans xiv, 17, 
I Cor. iv, 20, would not be complimentary to the intelligence 
of the reader ; but he may be asked to reflect on Matthew 
xiii, 47, in which the Kingdom is likened unto a net cast 
into the sea and catching both good fish and bad. What 
organisation but has unworthy as well as worthy members? 
How impossible any other interpretation ! And how 
characteristically John has dramatised the parable into 
history (xxi, 1-14) ! 


Holding fast the results thus far attained, that the 
Kingdom of God is the organisation or society in which 
God, the One God, is recognised and properly worshipped 
(that is, the community of the monotheistic Jesus-cult), we 
must now broach the interesting and important but difficult 
question of the preaching of the Kingdom and the call to 
repentance. At this point, unfortunately, the testimony is 
neither quite so clear nor so unanimous as might be desired. 
In Mark i, 15, we hear as the keynote of the Jesus-preaching : 
''The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand ; 
repent ye, and believe in his Gospel." Mark does not say 
that the Baptist preached the approaching Kingdom, but 
only the baptism of repentance, and the remission of sins, and 
the mightier Coming One who would baptise with the Holy 
Spirit. Similarly Luke, with many additional details, but 
with no mention of the Kingdom of God, which first appears 
in iv, 43, as preached by the Jesus. In the same sense the 
Fourth Evangelist is silent. Turning to Josephus {Ant., 
xviii, V. 2), we read of " John surnamed the Baptist ; for 
Herod slays him, a good man who bade such Jews as 
cultivate virtue and practise justice towards one another and 


piety towards God to join in baptism ; for so indeed also the 
baptism would appear acceptable to him, they using it not 
for apology for certain sins, but for purification of the body, 
supposing indeed the soul also thoroughly purified before- 
hand by righteousness." This seems to be a queer explana- 
tion of the "baptism unto remission of sins," but there is no 
hint of the Kingdom. Josephus goes on to say that the 
people thronged this preacher and were willing to do what- 
ever he advised ; so that Herod, fearing a rebellion, seized him 
and sent him to the castle Macherus, where he was put to 
death. As we can detect no motive here for falsification, 
this account would seem to be about as credible as anything 
else in Josephus ; in any case, we are not able to control it. 
It might perhaps consist with John's preaching the imminent 
arrival of the Kingdom, but certainly does not imply the 

In Matthew iii, 2, alone we read that the Baptist came 
preaching in the Wilderness of Judasa, and saying : '' Repent 
ye, for nigh is come the Kingdom of the Heavens." Now 
exactly these words are put into the mouth of the Jesus 
(iv, 17) as the keynote of his preaching, sounded only after 
John was cast into prison. We may suspect that here there 
is something unhistorical. It could hardly be, after John 
had preached for some considerable time, after he had been 
cast into prison and his movement had spent its force, that 
the Jesus would resume precisely his formula and slogan in 
preaching in Galilee. The effect of such preaching had 
already been discounted. People would have said : " Oh ! 
that is an old story. John told us all that some months ago. 
Now he's in prison." We may say, then, with much 
confidence that this repetition is very improbable. 

Nevertheless, the statements may shadow forth an 
historical situation. The preaching of the Baptist seems to 
present a Jewish side of the great Christian movement. Its 
main content (according to the Gospels) appears to have been 
the Coming One, which was nearly related to the Messianic 
expectation, but may have referred either to Jehovah himself 
or to his plenipotentiary representative. With this Coming 
One seems also to have been associated the notion of a 
judgment. The object of this latter was in the main the 


condemnation of the heathen world and the glorification of 
Israel, about which the Apocrypha and the expounders of the 
Apocrypha discourse interminably, and which might easily 
and naturally pass over into an overthrow of polytheism and 
establishment of the monotheistic Jesus-cult. Concerning 
the real intent, content, and extent of this Johannine move- 
ment we know very little, and conjecture seems idle. At 
present we must resign ourselves to ignorance. The repre- 
sentations in the Synoptics and in Josephus appear too 
meagre to warrant any significant positive inference. 

But what does this preaching tell us about the Kingdom ? 
Wellhausen (Matthew iii, 2) says : " That the Kingdom of 
God — i.e.^ the judgment or the wrath to come — is nigh at 
hand." Surely he cannot mean to identify the Kingdom 
with the Judgment or Wrath ; he means merely that the 
coming of the Kingdom involves the coming of the Judg- 
ment and Wrath. The Kingdom would seem to mean only 
the divine government, the rule of the earth by God mediately 
or immediately. In Jewish minds this might very naturally 
fuse with the Messianic Kingship and the exaltation of Israel. 
But in Gentile minds it would hardly do so. They would 
most probably have found such a Kingdom little to their 
taste. As preached to the Gentiles of Galilee the establish- 
ment of the Kingdom of God could hardly mean aught else 
than the conversion of Pagandom to the worship of the One 
true God. This notion was very closely related to the pure 
Judaic notion of the Kingdom of the Heavens as the Reign 
of the Law, since the heart of this latter was the Shema^ 
"Hear, Israel, Yahveh Our God Yahveh is One" (Deut. 
vi, 4). But the two were not quite the same. Inevitably 
the Kingdom itself would then consist of converts to this 
faith. As a body these would form the Kingdom, whose 
essence would be Theoseby — the worship of the One God. 


So understood, the force of the preaching becomes clear. 
"Repent" is more properly "Change your minds." The 
repentance^ is nothing but conversion, the Hebrew shuh^ the 


Aramaic tub, which is turning, Shubu (turn ye) was the cry 
of the prophets. Turn from what to what? It is a great 
mistake to suppose that a moral reformation is primarily 
meant, though of course it was involved as a consequent. 
The turning was always religious ; it was from idolatry to 
Yahveh-worship, from false religion to true. " For they 

served idols turn ye from your evil ways" (2 Kings xvii, 

12, 13). *' Ye children of Israel, turn again unto Yahveh " 
(2 Chron. xxx, 6). ''Turn ye unto him from whom the 
children of Israel have deeply revolted " (Isaiah xxxi, 6). 
*' Return unto me, for I have redeemed thee " (Isaiah xliv, 22). 
''Return, thou backsliding Israel," "Turn, O backsliding 
children," "Return, ye backsliding children; I will heal 
your backslidings " (Jer. iii, 12, 14, 22). "Return now 

everyone from his evil way Because my people hath 

forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity" (Jer. xviii, 

11, 15). Also Jer. xxv, 5, 6, and xxxv, 15: "Return ye 

now every man from his evil way, and go not after other 

gods." "Repent and turn from your idols " (Ez. xiv, 6). 

"Turn, turn ye from your evil ways ye lift up your eyes 

toward your idols" (Ez. xxxiii, 11, 25). "O Israel, return 
unto Yahveh " (Hos. xiv, 1-4). " Turn ye to me " (Joel ii, 

12, 13). "Turn ye unto me turn ye now from your evil 

ways Turn you to the stronghold " (Zee. i, 3, 4 ; ix, 12). 

"Return unto me" (Mai. iii, 7). Similar are nearly one 
hundred others. Uniformly, then, the turning is to Yahveh, 
from false gods. To be sure, the prophet conceives this 
conversion as bringing all good in its train, just as idolatry 
drags all evil {cp. Rom. i, 18-32) ; but in every case this 
turning is from false to true worship. We may indeed say 
that the conception of morality as morality is scarcely present 
at all in the Old Testament. Surely this does not mean that 
the Hebrew did not value morality. He valued it most 
highly and practised it diligently — not, however, as primary, 
but as secondary ; not as original and independent, but as 
dependent and derivative. For him the source of moral 
obligation was not found in the nature of things (as for the 
Greek), not even in his own nature, but in the expressed will 
of God. The seat of authority was nowhere on earth, but in 
heaven. The basis of ethics was not subjective, but objective. 


Morality was a vigorous growth, but rooted nowhere in earth; 
it was an offshoot from the giant stem of religion. " If any 
one worship God (Oeocreprig y) and do his will, him he 
hears" (John ix, 31). Worship comes first, then obedience, 
and therewith all is said. This but echoes the dictum of 
Qoheleth, ** Hear the sum of all [speech] : Fear God and 
keep his commandments ; for this is [the duty of] every man." 
It is clear, to ethics is conceded no independent existence. 
The prophets are unwearied and vehement in their exhorta- 
tions to repentance and to righteousness. Turn, turn, they 
cry unceasing — from what? ** From your evil way." What 
evil way ? The context shows in every case that the evil 
way is idolatry or some form of unfaithfulness to Yahveh- 
worship. Turn to whom, to what? The same context shows 
in every case that it is to Yahveh and his service. 

Of all the prophets the one in whom the purely ethical 
comes clearest to the light is Amos. Yet, though for 
rhetorical purposes he sets forth the injustice and oppression 
of the priestly and official class with terrible vigour, yet even 
in him the prime motive is religious. His indignation is 
against the false worship at Bethel and Dan and Gilgal. It 
is the iniquity of the ministers of a false religion that he 
denounces. After fierce predictions against the surrounding 
heathens he turns to Judah : " Because they have despised 
the laws of Yahveh and have not kept his commandments, 
and their lies caused them to err^ after which their fathers 
walked. " These ** lies " are nought but idols (" Gotzenbilder, " 
Buhl), as so frequently in the Old Testament. Next he 
denounces Israel, and, though scourging avarice and vice, he 
lets us know that it is these as connected with the State 
religion of Jeroboam that provoke him, for they " profane 

my holy name" "in the house of their god." The 

luxury he inveighs against is the luxury of the priests, the 
pomp of the false religion ; hence '* I will also visit the altars 
of Beth-el." It is this same half-heathen service that is so 
emphatically rejected in the famous passage v, 21-26. It is 
their idolatry, their worship of Moloch and Kewan (Saturn) 
(v, 26, 27), that will land them in captivity. The righteous- 
ness and judgment of verse 24 are only the strict fulfilment 
of the Torah of Jehovah. Similarly in vi, 13, '*ye rejoice in 


Lo-debar," whether this be " nought thing" — i.e.^ idol — or 
Mahanaim (2 Sam. ix, 4 ; xvii, 27), a place of idol-worship. 
Also in viii, 14, the ''sin of Samaria" is the false god or 
false worship. 

Even in the most spiritual of the Psalms the case is not 
otherwise. In 51 the poet (who seems to be nothing else 
than the people Israel in captivity) bewails his apparent 
rejection by God ; he can understand it only as a punishment 
for his (the people's) sins. But all the sin was against God 
and God only ; '' against thee, thee only, have I sinned and 
done evil in thy sight"; that is, it was not ethical, but 
religious. He prays earnestly for restoration to favour, in 
which case he will convert sinners and ''teach transgressors 
thy ways"; that is, he will propagate monotheism and the 
Law. True, it is said, verses 16, 17 : "For thoudesirest not 
sacrifice ; else would I give ; thou delightest not in burnt 
offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit : a 
broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."' 
And naturally, for in captivity such forms of worship were 
impracticable ; the will had to be taken for the deed ; but as 
soon as " the walls of Jerusalem " were rebuilt, " then shalt 
thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with 
burnt offering and whole burnt offering ; then shall they 
offer bullocks upon thine altar." We all know that the 
reference of this Psalm to David is quite impossible. The 
apex of poetic and philosophic merit is attained in Psalm 139 ; 
yet the closing verses (19-24) show that the philosophy and 
ethics of the writer are still strictly religious, that he even 
hates with perfect hatred all that do not worship with him the 
One God of the universe. 

Like holds for Isaiah, even Deutero-Isaiah. Large-hearted 
and spiritual-minded as he is, nevertheless before all else he is 
a religionist, a Yahveh-worshipper, only derivatively and in 
second line a moralist. This thesis may be tested and proved 
by countless verses. Consider the Great Arraignment {chdip, i). 

^ Even if certain critics should be right in holding that the Psalmist has 
here attained a strictly " evangelic " standpoint, the foregoing results would 
not really suffer ; for it would be only a noteworthy individual exception, such 
as might readily arise without altering the general state of the case — and the 
closing verses would then be understood as a consciously corrective addition 


In spite of such verses as 17, the sin of the people is apostasy 
(5), is defection from Yahveh (4), is idolatry (21, 29). In 
ii, 9, 18, 20, 22, the land is full of '' not-gods," against which 
the prophet inveighs with passion. In v, 24, the sin is the 
same. In x, 10, 11, the "not-gods" confront us again, and 
so on to the end. The whole book is intensely religious, the 
prophet champions the Yahveh-cult unweariedly, and his 
truly lofty ethics is a deduction from his religion. We 
need say little of Micah and the rest. From i, 6/ iii, 5, iv, 5, 
V, 13/, vi, 16, and similar passages, it is clear that this pro- 
phet was of the same spirit, that for him also morality was a 
corollary from the worship of Yahveh. Even in the Gospels 
the case is not really different. The first commandment is 
still the Shema^ with the requisition of intense and exclusive 
worship of the One Jehovah-God. Love for neighbour is the 
j*^co/z^ and far less emphatic commandment (Mark xii, 28-34). 
We repeat, then, the prophetic cry Suhu means always 
one, and only one, thing — "Turn ye " from idols unto God ; 
its content is primarily always religious, never ethical. The 
Aramaic prefers the later tuh^ "return," but the content 
remains the same. Several times the Suh of the Old Testa- 
ment is rendered by \'KiaTpi<^ix) (convert) in the New Testament, 
and is then generally rendered in Syriac by tub. Repentance 
and conversion were then essentially the same in the apostolic 
consciousness ; they referred primarily to the turning away 
from idols unto the one living God. This is clearly expressed 
in Acts XX, 2 1 — " Repentance unto God " — where turning unto 
God must be meant. Of course, it is not affirmed that 
repentance does not and can never mean anything else but 
this conversion, but only that as the slogan of the primitive 
preaching it meant, and could mean, nothing else. 


Let us examine New Testament usage still more carefully. 
In Rev. ii and iii the verb is used seven times : Ephesus is 
praised, but is bid "repent and do the first works," "because 
thou hast left thy first love " (ii, 5). Plainly some religious 
error, some defect of faith is meant, some falling away from 
true worship ; there is no hint of moral dereliction. Pergamos, 


too, is commended, but is also reproved for compromise with 
idolatry in the matter of eating things sacrificed to idols, and 
is bid repent solely on this score. The repentance is purely 
religious and non-ethical. Similarly Thyatira, only more 
explicitly ; her sole sin is this same compromise with paganism 
in the person of that woman Jezebel, and from this alone she 
had failed to repent. Sardis meets with sharp reproof, and is 
summoned sternly to repentance. It is not said specifically 
for what ; still, the inference is sure that it was religious 
defilement, some infection of false worship ; for it is said, 
" Thou hast a few names in Sardis which did not defile their 
garments " (iii, 4). Laodicea is fiercely rebuked — why ? 
Plainly and solely for want of zeal in the crusade against 
polytheism. The Church had become secularised ; in the 
sharp issue between the many and the one it did not take 
sides uncompromisingly — it was neither cold nor hot. Hence 
it, too, is exhorted to be ''zealous, therefore, and repent." 
There is no reason to doubt that the reference of the term in 
question is purely religious, as elsewhere. 

Once more, in ix, 20, 21, we find "the rest repented not of 
the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, 

and idols of gold neither repented they of their murders, nor 

of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." 
Here the repentance is again in first line purely religious, a 
turning from false worship. Of the four additional specifica- 
tions in verse 21, the second and third are also religious, the 
reference being to heathen service ; while the first and fourth 
are either such veiled allusions or else allude to offences in 
some wise thought as connected with idolatry. The sufferers 
were only idolaters, '* only such men as have not the seal of 
God on their foreheads" (ix, 4). Finally, in xvi, 9, 11, 
the case is particularly clear : ** They blasphemed the name 

of the God and repented not to give him glory and 

blasphemed the God of heaven and they repented not of 

their works." The latter phrase is the same as in ix, 20, 
where the works are defined as works of idolatry, and the 
object of repentance is implied to be giving God glory ; 
hence the repentance can be nothing else than turning from 
heathenism. The testimony of Revelation is direct, unequi- 
vocal, decisive. 


In 2 Cor. xii, 21, the Apostle speaks of many that *' re- 
pented not of the uncleanness and fornication and lascivious- 
ness which they committed. " It seems plain that these severe 
terms here designate, as so often in the Scriptures, religious 
impurity — that is, some form of idolatrous deeds, some 
unifaithfulness to God. In Acts ii, 38 ; iii, 19, we have the 
ostensible first preaching, addressed apparently to Jews, with 
the exhortation, "Repent and be baptised," ''Repent and 
turn "; but it has been shown in Der vorchristliche Jesus that 
all this is only part of Luke's scheme to make the Christian 
movement issue solely from Jerusalem, against the facts in 
the case. The author has taken the exhortation to Gentiles 
and applied it to Jews. Notice also that they were to receive 
the Holy Spirit — naturally, when they renounced the unclean 
spirits (demon-gods) they had been serving. There is here, 
then, no real violation of the rule. In viii, 22, Simon is 
urged to " repent of this thy wickedness "; but this addendum 
to the earlier story cannot be received as historic, as already 
shown in Der vorchristliche Jesus. It is the beginning of 
that misrepresentation of Simon which extends throughout 
the Fathers, and particularly the Clementines. 

In xvii, 30, Paul declares : '' The times of ignorance 
therefore God overlooked ; but now he commandeth men 
that they should all everywhere repent." The ignorance was 
ignorance concerning God, true religion, monotheism, as is 
plain from verse 29 : " We ought not to think the Godhead is 
like unto gold," etc.; hence the repentance is certainly a 
turning away from idolatry. In Acts xxvi, 20, we find ''that 
they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of 
repentance." This mandate can hardly mean aught else than 
to forsake idolatry and then worship God properly. We need 
not be surprised that the writer makes this call go forth to the 
Jews also, since we have repeatedly shown that the early 
Christians insisted that the Jews themselves were not true 
worshippers of God ; indeed, the whole speech of Stephen is 
but an elaboration and historical illustration of this position, 
as comes clearly to light in vii, 51, 52, 53. Only from this 
standpoint is the speech intelligible. 

In Luke the word " repent" occurs ten times. In x, 13, 
and xi, 32, the reference is clearly to the abandonment of 


idolatry ; also it may well be the same in xiii, 3, 5, and also 
in XV, 7, 10. The sinner here is opposed to the just. This 
latter is none other than the Old Testament Saddiq, he who 
fulfils the law, who worships God aright — " for the most part 
with reference to the divine law given to the Israelites ; hence 
of the faithful pious Israelites in opposition to the backsliders " 
(Buhl) — transgressors, the wicked, etc., who, though not 
heathen, deported themselves as heathen in their irreligion. 
There is no reference to the inner moral life. In xvi, 30, in 
the Lazarus parable, it is again a question of religion, of 
accepting the Kingdom, the Jesus-cult ; no question of ethics 
is involved. The remaining passage — xvii, 3, 4 — is note- 
worthy. At first sight it seems merely a question of private 
neighbourly relations. But careful consideration shows this 
to be impossible. The preceding verses, i, 2, show that the 
matter in hand is the stumblings of the "little ones" — i.e., 
the Gentile converts. Such stumblings were, of course, very 
frequent, and the verses teach patience therewith. It was 
very hard for such a convert to give up at once all his pagan 
ways ; often he would stumble and sin, fall back into 
heathenry ; but as often, if he repented, he was to be 
forgiven and restored. The repentance is religious ; it is the 
same return to true worship from false. And who is to 
forgive? Who is the "thou"? The individual Christian? 
Certainly not. It is the Christian community, the Christian 
consciousness. Wellhausen sees here, indeed, only the 
individual Christian, thus reducing the passage to unreason ; 
but he recognises that in the parallel in Matthew (xviii, 
6/, 15, 21/) there is distinct reference to the congregation 

The sycamine tree is hard to understand. The following 
suggestion is hazarded : In presence of the immense fact of 
polytheism and the weakness of human nature, involving the 
necessity of infinite patience and forbearance, the task of 
converting the world, of really establishing true worship, 
seemed almost hopeless. The faith even of the Apostles 
might waver. Nevertheless, the task would yet be accom- 
plished. The sycamine tree of idolatry would yet be removed 
from earth, and cast into the sea along with the legion of 
demon-gods. It is not strange that the system of polytheism 


should be thus symbolised, since the Kingdom of God has 
elsewhere the mustard seed and plant for its emblem.^ 

But why a mulberry-tree rather than some other? The 
question is difficult, at present perhaps impossible, to answer. 
Unless we take this tree as a vague general symbol of firm 
wide-rootedness, like the live-oak of the Gulf Coast, we must 
have recourse to philology. The Syriac form is Thuthay 
and the Mishnic name for mulberry is Tuth. One might 
think of the like-sounding but unlike-spelled Taut (Phoe- 
nician principle of the universe) and of the related Egyptian 
Thoth ; possibly there might be a reference to the whole 
scheme of things to be revolutionised by the new faith. 
Also we find in Levy's Worterbuch, II, 534) a queer citation 
under Tothavah (sojourner) : '' Woe, woe, Tothavah expels the 
house-lord — i.e., the idol is worshipped instead of God." 
The word might then conceal an allusion to the system of 
idolatry which the new faith, small now as a mustard seed, 
would yet uproot and destroy. The Evangelists were by no 
means incapable of such far-sought allusions ; but nothing 
more is suggested here than that some such, if far better, 
explanation will sooner or later make the matter clear. 

It must not be forgotten that Luke makes mention (xix, 4) 
of another related tree, the sycomore, the Hebrew shiqmah, 
Aramaean (pi.) shiqmin. Hence the Greek avKafjuvoq (syca- 
mine) seems to have come. The botanists assure us that the 
two trees are quite distinct, and the Syriac terms are not 
identical ; still, it seems not altogether certain that the Evan- 
gelist thought of the difference. In any case, it appears 
impossible not to recognise in Zacchseus — Zakkai = pure, 
innocent (J ah ?) — a symbol of the Jewish element that accepted 
the Jesus-cult.^ Even Keim {J. v. JV.y HI, 47-50) recognises 
** the easy explicability of the later origin of the whole story, 
which Luke evidently took from his Ebionite Gospel." 
Whether now the sycomore be only an enlivening detail is 

^ Z>, agreeing- with Syriac (Curetonian ; see Burkitt's version), inserts also 
the reference to mountain-moving (as in Matt, xvii, 20). Can it be that the 
mountain symbolises Mosaism (from Sinai), and the mulberry-tree polytheism, 
both to be removed by the new faith ? 

^ The case is not essentially altered if Cheyne be right, and Zakkai = 
Zacharjah (=Jah remembers) ; nay, even if the primitive Zikhri be a tribal 
name, for the question is about the popular understanding of the name, and 
not about a scientific etymology. 


not easy, nor of much moment, to determine ; but it might 
not seem too far-fetched to understand by this tree also the 
same pagan system, through which Zacchasus had indeed 
elevated himself, out from which, however, he comes by 
accepting the Jesus-cult (receiving the Jesus into his house). 

Returning from this long digression, we observe that in 
six out of the seven uses of " repent" in Matthew and Mark 
the sense is that of turning from idols unto God ; in the 
seventh only, the words of the Jesus are also ascribed to John. 
In view, then, of all the foregoing, we seem fully justified in 
questioning the propriety of this ascription. John seems, 
indeed, to have been an ascetic, and to have introduced a 
baptism symbolic of thorough purity ; he may undoubtedly 
have called for a more rigorous religious and even moral 
life, to fit the people for the coming of the One, since it was 
a common idea that the Kingdom was delayed by the imperfect 
service of Israel. But it was still not the moral, but the 
religious, faultiness of Israel that postponed the advent. It 
was the '* general view that Messiah cannot come until the 
people repent and perfectly fulfil the law. ^ If all Israel 
would together repent for a whole day, the redemption by 
Messiah would ensue.' If Israel would only keep two 
Sabbaths properly, we should be immediately redeemed " 
(Schiirer, G, d. j\ V.y II, ii, § 29). Plainly, the sole question 
was one of perfect obedience, of religious service. One 
should here recall the words of Weber {/udtscke Theologie, 
243) : *' From this point of view we perceive that sins were' 
not regarded primarily, but only secondarily, as ethical 
actions." Even if the Baptist, reviving the methods of the 
old prophets, had cried out " Repent," he would have meant 
it in the old prophetic sense of " Turn ye " unto God and his 
pure service, away from the corruptions introduced by contact 
with paganism. 

A few words seem necessary concerning the noun " re- 
pentance." A glance at any and all of the eight uses of the 
word in the Gospels (Matthew iii, 8, 1 1 ; Mark i, 4 ; Luke iii, 
3, 8 ; V, 32 ; XV, 7 ; xxiv, 47) shows that they are all perfectly 
consistent with the meaning — conversion to true worship from 
false, to monotheism from polytheism. In Acts xi, 18, xx, 21, 
the sense here championed is strongly recommended as the 


only sense satisfactory ; the use in xxvi, 20, consists 
thoroughly therewith ; in xiii, 24, xix, 4, the reference is to 
John's baptism, of which enough has been said ; in v, 31, the 
author speaks of God's giving " repentance to Israel and 
remission of sins," where the term seems to be used in the 
sense it bears in the old prophetic exhortations to Israel. In 
Romans ii, 4 ; 2 Timothy ii, 25 ; 2 Peter iii, 9, the sense 
here advocated is demanded. In 2 Cor. vii, 9 and 10, ''Ye 
sorrowed unto repentance," and "Sorrow, according to God,^ 
worketh repentance unto salvation." We know little or 
nothing of this incident ; but it seems hard to believe that it 
did not involve some religious error on the part of the Church. 
We note, further, that their repentance was caused by their 
sorrow, and was by no means the sorrow itself, which seems 
to be marked by the phrase " according to God " as having 
distinct reference to religion. The natural conjecture would 
appear to be that part of the congregation had fallen back 
into some heathenish practices, for which they heartily 
grieved, from which they turned again to God. 

In Heb. vi, i, we meet with the marvellous exhortation : 
"Wherefore having put aside the word of the beginning of 
the Christ, let us be borne on to the completion, not laying 
down again foundation of repentance from dead works and 
of faith toward God." We are not concerned to unravel this 
enigma, but only to find out the sense of repentance. We 
notice that it stands in immediate connection with "faith 
toward God " (Iwl Oeov). The instant suggestion is that the 
" dead works " are either heathen or semi-heathen forms of 
worship, such as Christians conceived even the Jewish rites 
and ceremonies, festivals, new moons, and the like, to be. 
Certain it is that there is no suggestion of anything ethical. 
In the sixth verse it is declared impossible to renew certain 
apostates^ "unto repentance." Here there is no doubt 
whatever. Clearly the apostasy is from the true faith, from 
God, and the repentance is the return thereto. Unequivocal 
also is the next passage (xii, 17), where it is declared of 
Esau that "he found no place of repentance, though he 
sought it (the blessing) diligently with tears." Evidently 

* Kara dedv. ^ irapaireadvTai. 


what he sought was restoration to divine favour, to the 
prerogatives of the chosen servant and worshipper of 
Jehovah, which he had surrendered to his younger brother. 
Whatever moral quality could possibly go with Esau's act 
belonged to his diligent search (for the blessing) with tears, 
which, however, was entirely unavailing. That it is relapse 
to some form of idolatry or false worship that the author has 
in mind is also made clear in verses 15, 16, by the terms 
"defiled," "polluted," "fornicator," all of which refer to 
heathenism, and by the quotation concerning the " root of 
bitterness," which refers to an idolatrous person corrupting 
the faithful by his presence and example, as is plain from 
Deut. xxix, 16-18, to which the writer plainly alludes. 


This analysis has been tedious, but it was necessary, and 
apparently leaves no doubt that the prevailing and almost 
exclusive reference of repent and repentance is to conversion 
from some form of imperfect or idolatrous worship to the 
pure worship of the one " God in person of Christ." It 
seems probable that the primitive reference of sin, especially 
in the "putting or sending away of sins," was in New 
Testament usage always to the renunciation of idolatry, of 
errors of faith or practice. These were indeed conceived to 
draw along in their train all forms of vice, as is very clearly 
stated in Rom. i, 18-32, where the whole acrostic of iniquities 
is deduced from polytheism, from refusal to have God in 
knowledge (i, 28). This passage is highly instructive, and 
states the New Testament doctrine with more distinctness 
and emphasis than does any other. It seems impossible, 
after pondering it carefully, to question in any important 
feature the outcome of the foregoing investigation. 

Such unexpected results derive great importance from the 
fact that they confirm in a striking and decisive manner the 
conclusion already reached (p. 46^) concerning the essence 
and sovereign virtue of the proto-Christian proclamation. If, 
as maintained, the primitive propaganda was directed 
primarily and consciously against the prevailing idolatry, if 
it was an organised revolt against polytheism, then, indeed, 


its battle-cry must have been, or at least must have signified, 
"Change your minds," "Turn ye from gods to God"; then, 
indeed, " repentance from dead works and faith unto God " 
must have been "the word of the beginning of the Christ," 
the very basis of the new religion universal. The consequent 
here is indeed true, but does not in this reasoning formally 
imply the antecedent. On the other hand, if such actually 
was the battle-cry of the missionaries, and if such was its 
sense, if their call to repentance really meant " Abandon 
your idols and worship only the one living God " (the Jesus, 
who would thus save them from their sznsj their idolatries), 
then, indeed, the vital content of their preaching could have 
been nothing else than the great truth of monotheism, and 
the aim of their crusade could have been naught but the 
redemption of mankind from "the polytheistic error," from 
"the bitter bondage of the tyrannising demons." Now, 
however, by entirely unrelated processes from entirely 
unrelated premisses we have shown that here the antecedent 
is actually true ; and from it the consequent follows of 
necessity. In other words, the necessary consequent of an 
antecedent already established (p. ^6ff) has itself been shown 
wholly independently to be an historic-literary fact ; and this 
fact has been shown to carry with it the former antecedent 
as its own necessary consequence. It would be hard to 
supply, and unjust to require, a more stringent demonstration. 
It should not pass unnoticed, since it supplements and 
confirms the foregoing, that the Hebrew word for repent, in 
the familiar and now almost exclusive sense of regret or rue, 
is the onomatopoetic ndham, to sigh, to groan. In the Old 
Testament it is used especially with Jehovah, now affirma- 
tively, now negatively. Its New Testament equivalent, and 
indeed translation, is metamelomai, used five times (Matthew 
xxi, 30, 32 ; xxvii, 3 ; 2 Cor. vii, 8 ; Heb. vii, 21), quite dis- 
tinct from metdnoia. 




Since the appearance of the memoir on the Meaning of the 
Epithet Nazorean, the matter has been treated by many 
critics from many points of view. It is not the purpose of 
this work to review these treatments, though one or two 
observations thereon may be allowed. 

It seems strange that Kampmeier should feel it necessary 
to call my attention to the elegy of Kalir (a.d. 900?), since 
my language as quoted, " for nearly a thousand years after 
Christ," shows clearly enough that the elegy was present in 
my mind at the time of writing — else why the round number, 
" nearly one thousand " ? Samuel Klein {Beitrdge zur 
Geographie und Geschichte Galildas — 1909) seeks to date 
the original of the catalogue between the years 135 and 300 
of our era, with what success it is needless to discuss. That 
some ** city called Nazaret " may have been known in Galilee 
some centuries after a.d. i would be hardly worth con- 

In the Protestantische Monatshefte (xiv, 6, 208-213) 
Schwen argues at length over the '' Epiphaniusstelle," 
declaring "the theological critics have here capitulated in 
part.'' His main thesis is that '* Nazoree and Nazaree are 
in Epiphanius clearly distinguished." Few are likely to 
find his proofs satisfactory. The mere fact that the spelling 
varies from MS. to MS. at nearly every appearance of the 
word, that Markx, 47, presents seven, and Luke xxiv, 19, even 
eight forms, among them va^Wjoatoc, va?Ojoatoc, vaZ^a^aioq^ com- 
bined with the fact that the Semitic sibilant Sadhe (in 
Nasarja, Nosri, Nasrat) is commonly rendered by <r and not 
by ?, shows clearly both that the forms are all equivalent, 



and that vafrapaiog is the more primitive and more nearly- 
correct. Even, then, if we should (though we do not) admit 
Sch wen's *' Hauptaufstellung," nothing would be gained for 
the cause he would rescue. It would only be Epiphanius 
who sought to make a distinction where there was no 
difference. It was natural that he should strive hard to do 
so ; but it would be very unwise for us to mistake his efforts 
for success. In spite of all the adverse learning that has 
been brought to bear upon the central positions of the 
original article — that the sect of the Nazarees was pre- 
Christian, and that their name is derived not from a city 
called Nazareth, but from the Semitic stem N-S-R (to 
guard) — these positions remain as yet unshaken, and indeed 
not seriously assailed.' 


Reserving, then, the right to enter into further details of 
criticism, if at any time it should seem worth while, we now 
strike into an entirely different path of research, and without 
any foreboding at the start as to whither it will lead us. The 
observation may possibly be not without importance that 
Matthew does not say (ii, 23) Nazareth or a city Nazaret, 
but a "city called Nazaret."^ The phrase sounds innocent 

^ Such, indeed, is the recent judgment of Bousset {Theol. Rundschau^ 
October, 1911) : "The theological attempts to explain this remarkable state of 
case [in Epiph.] must thus far be accounted failures " — he mentions by name 
Wernle, Schwen, Schmiedel, Schmidtke. At the proper time and place it may 
not be hard to show that his own attempt is scarcely more successful, labour- 
ing under the grave burden of a superfetation of hypotheses. It is still more 
interesting to note further that in the same leading article Bousset seems to 
surrender Nazareth as the source of the names Nazaree, Nazoree, and, 
indeed, the "city" itself as a geographic reality (p. 381). One admires the 
candour of the critic, but wonders, after this "capitulation in part," what 
there remains for the historicist to defend ? If Nazaree be not from Nazareth, 
if this latter be imaginary, then can anyone doubt that Nazaree is a religious 
designation, that it is in some wise, no matter how, related to the Hebrew 
stem N-S-R (to guard), and that Nazareth itself is most probably derived there- 
from? * These momentous and immediate consequences have been clearly 
foreseen by the Liberals in general, hence the exceeding fierceness with which 
they have defended the citadel that Bousset has now surrendered. They have 
rightly felt that the fall of Nazareth is the fall of historicism itself. It remains 
to add that Winckler entertains no doubt that " From the concept ne^er is 
named the religion of those that believe on the * Saviour ' — Nazarene Christians 
and Nosairier" — precisely as I have contended. See my note in Das freie 
Woriy July, 191 1, pp. 266-8. 
' irdXtP Xeyofi^vTjv Nafa/j^. 


enough and accords perfectly with Greek usage, and yet may 
well give us pause. This participle *' called " "" is applied 
elsewhere in the New Testament four times to cities : "A city 
called Nain " (Luke vii, 11), **A city called Bethsaida" (Luke 
ix, 10), *'A city of Samaria called Sychar " (John iv, 5), " Into 
Ephraim called city " (John xi, 54). The point is that all these 
names are suspicious or peculiar. Of Nain the best criticism 
feels very uncertain. The Nain of Josephus(^. y., iv, 9, 4/) 
does not suit, being near Edom ; whereas Luke's Nain 
should be near Shunem. Since the Lucan story is clearly a 
symbolism modelled on i Kings xvii, 8-24, the suggestion 
lies very nigh that Nain is for Naim, mentioned in the 
Midrash (Ber. rabda, 98, on Gen. xlix, 15), and this a mere 
disguise (of the Evangelist's) for Shunem. So Cheyne, 
£, B.y 3263. Nestle {Pkti. Sac, 20) most ingeniously 
suggests that " Nain " transliterated back into Q'Tl^ might 
mean "the awakened," in which case it would clearly be 
merely a symbolic name made to fit the miracle. 

Coming now to Bethsaida, we find that this was the old 
name for a city rebuilt, enlarged, and renamed Julias ; so 
that Bethsaida was not the real name in use at the time of the 
composition of the Gospel. 

Concerning the city called '' Sychar " the wisest know 
nothing, and into the circle of eternal strife about it we need 
not enter. Critics incline to identify it with Sychem, thinking 
the Evangelist may have arbitrarily changed the name for 
some hidden reason ; he may, so to speak, have given the 
place this name. Enough that Sychar is elsewhere unknown, 
and takes its place along with Ephraim, -^non, Salim, and 
the rest, as a "somewhat improbable place-name" (Cheyne, 
E, B,, 4829) of the Fourth Gospel. 

The case of Ephraim is not quite parallel ; the form of 
words is not quite the same, as the reader has observed. 
However, in view of the general character of the Fourth 
Gospel, it seems highly probable even to Keim (following in 
the wake of Spath) that the name is here symbolic, not meant 
really to designate any special city : " In fact, it is a near- 
lying idea to regard it as representative of the rejected, but 

^ Xeyofiev. — ; in Luke, KoXovfiev — . 


finally redeemed (Hos. i, ii), land of the Ten Tribes and the 
Samaritans. Cf. i, 590: Messias filius Ephraim (iii, 8n)." 
It seems, then, that in all these cases the word " said " 
(Xeyo^tvr?) most probably denotes an epithet applied, it may 
be, by the writer himself; so that it might without violence 
be rendered "so-called," or even '* which we may call." 

This probability seems greatly heightened when we 
consider other similar uses in the New Testament. Of 
these there are about twenty-seven, such as : " Jesus the 
so-called Christ" (Matthew i, 16; xxvii, 17, 22); "Simon the 
so-called Peter " (Matthew iv, 18 ; x, 2) ; " Matthew so-called " 
(Matthew ix, 9), supposed to be named Levi (Luke v, 27) ; 
"the so-called Judas Iscariot" (Matthew xxvi, 14) ; "prisoner 
famous called Barabbas" (Matthew xxvii, 16) ; "place called 
Golgotha, which is Skull's Place so-called " (Matthew xxvii, 
33); "the so-called Barabbas" (Mark xv, 7) ; "the feast of 
unleavened bread the so-called passover " (Luke xxii, i) ; 
"the so-called Judas" (Luke xxii, 47) ; " Messias comes, the 
so-called Christ" (John iv, 25); "a pool the so-called [in 
Hebrew] Bethzatha," or "the surnamed," ETriXeyoiuevr} (John 
V, 2) ; " the man the so-called Jesus " (John ix, 11); " Thomas 
the so-called Didymus " (John xi, 16 ; xx, 24 ; xxi, 2) ; " at a 
place called Lithostroton, but in Hebrew Gabbatha" (John 
xix, 13); "the so-called Skull's Place, which is called in 
Hebrew Golgotha" (John xix, 17); "A gate of the temple, 
the so-called Beautiful " (Acts iii, 2) ; " Synagogue so-called 
of the Libertines," or "of the so-called Libertines" (Acts 
vi, 9) ; " for even if there are so-called gods " (i Cor. viii, 5) ; 
"Those called uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision " 
(Eph. ii, 11) ; " Exalting himself against every so-called god 
or object worshipped " (2 Thess. ii, 4) ; " tent the so-called 
Holy of Holies" (Heb. ix, 3). Add "the high-priest the 
so-called Caiaphas " (Matthew xxvi, 3) and " place called 
Gethsemane " (Matthew xxvi, 36), where the parallel in 
Mark xiv, 32, is peculiar — " place of which the name is 
Gethsemane," — and " Jesus, the so-called Justus " (Col. iv, 1 1). 
There remain only five or six cases in which a similar phrase 
is used, as "which is called "; but these need not detain us. 

We note that in all these cases the word "called " is used 
to introduce a name either additional or in some way peculiar, 


so that it might be rendered "surnamed." The enumeration 
is exhaustive for New Testament usage^ ; and if there be any- 
such thing as reasoning from complete induction, we must 
admit that Matthew, in writing ''city called Nazaret," seems 
to betray a consciousness that he is using this name epitheti- 
cally, or at least in some way peculiarly. He seems to be 
saying, '* a city that for the purposes of my representation 
may be called Nazaret." Why? In order to explain the 
term Nazorasus ! 

Some of these cases will well repay further examination. 
As to the place called Gethsemane — i.e.y *' Wine-press of 
Olives " — no one knows anything whatever about it, and its 
topographic reality appears highly problematic. The con- 
jecture seems to lie close at hand that the name is purely 
symbolical, suggested by the famous passage in Isaiah : 
"Thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat" 
{Gath). This latter term means wine-press, and apparently 
never anything but wine-press.^ The combination Gath- 
shemani (wine-press of oil or olives) is singular, and seems 
very unlikely as the name of a place. But why may it not 
mean simply ''wine-press of Olivet"? As Wellhausen well 
remarks, the word is not Aramaic, but Hebrew. Such a 
name must have descended through centuries, if it was a 
name at all. This it would hardly have done had it not 
designated some place of importance ; and in that case we 
should probably have heard of it. It is very unlikely, then, 
that there was any place named Winepress of Olives, The 
symbolism seems perfectly obvious. The wine-press is that 
of Isaiah (Ixiii, 2)— the wine-press of divine suffering. This 
explanation seems so perfectly satisfying in every way that it 
appears gratuitous to look further. That the Evangelist was 
thinking of Isaiah seems clear from his separating the Jesus 
at this point from his disciples : " I have trodden the wine- 
trough alone^ and of the peoples there was no man with we"; 

* It has not seemed necessary to consider in general the kindred use or 
KoXovfiev — . 

^ To be sure, a wine-press might be used for various purposes (as in 
Judges vi, 11) ; and the word gath may sometime have been used inaccurately 
for the word bad{d)^ which regularly means olive-press, as in Pea. vii, i, 
where gath "certainly means an olive-press." Elsewhere, however, the 
difference between the two words, as between the two things, seems to be 
observed consistently. 


and (the later?) Luke adds : '' There appeared to him an angel 
from heaven, strengthening him " — not human, but divine, 
help was needed. Herewith is explained also the " impremo- 
nition " of the disciples, which Wellhausen finds so puzzling 
and inconsistent (£v. Matth.^ p. 139). The whole scene is 
designed to pathetise the idea of a suffering God, and at the 
same time to fulfil the words of the prophet in a far higher 
than the prophet's sense. There was need thus to import 
pathos, for the notion of suffering was naturally so foreign to 
the idea of God, though native to the idea of man, that the 
representation ran the risk of appearing unreal, a transparent 
make-believe. Hence the increasing care with which each 
succeeding evangelist elaborates the details of the wondrous 
picture — with sublime success. 

Of course, some one will say that the Isaian divine 
warrior is triumphing over his enemies, that his garments 
are red with their blood ; whereas in the Gospels it is 
the Jesus that is suffering, and his garments are stained 
with his own blood (Luke xxii, 44). Very true, indeed. 
The idea of the wine-press has been taken over, but 
not merely taken over; it has been Christianised in 
transit. Vengeance has been turned into self-sacrifice. 
There is nothing strange in this. It is the habit of the New 
Testament writer to seize upon an idea or phrase of the Old 
Testament, and transform it to suit his own purpose. In 
this case the transformation is precisely what we might 
expect. Can any one fail to perceive the delicate and beautiful 
suggestion in the combination, ** wine-press of olives"? In 
Isaiah it was the wine of wrath and vengeance that gushed 
out from under the press ; not so in the Gospels. There it is 
still the wine-press (Gath) of the prophet ; but it is the oil of 
healing and salvation that flows gently forth for all the 

In regard to the " pool the so-called (in Hebrew) Beth- 
zatha " (John v, 2), the case appears clear as day. That the 
whole story is a transparent symbolism seems too plain for 
argument. Our modern editors have cut out verse 4, follow- 
ing venerable manuscripts, but forsaking common sense. 
For manifestly some such verse is absolutely necessary to 
give semblance to the whole story, and is indispensably 


implied in verse 7. But the early copyists of t^, B, C, D, 
and others, as well as many translators, seem to have had no 
relish for the angel of verse 4, and accordingly left it out, 
though Tertullian {De Bapt,, $) declares the "intervening 
angel used to disturb the pool Bethsaida," which carries the 
attestation of the idea of the verse back to the second century, 
far behind any Gospel manuscript. 

That this pool symbolises (Jewish) baptism or outward 
purification is clearly seen in the Sinaitic Syriac palimpsest, 
which renders it in verse 7 by (a word meaning) baptism. 
Verse 2 is lost from this ancient manuscript, but the Cure- 
tonian has place of baptism. The cripple of thirty-eight 
years is evidently Humanity, that had been waiting just 
thirty-eight centuries for the coming of the Jesus-cult to heal 
it. The symbol sets forth vividly the impotence of the ethnic 
Jewish religion of rites, ceremonies, purifications, and the 
omnipotence of the spiritual religion, the new doctrine of the 
Jesus. On the details of interpretation we do not insist. 
But either the whole account must be accepted as fact, as 
history, or else it must be interpreted symbolically. Now, if 
any man really interprets it as historic fact, we have no 
quarrel with him, but neither have we any discussion ; he is 
beyond the pale of our argument. On the other hand, if we 
understand it as symbolism, then there was no such topo- 
graphic pool and no such name therefor ; the name " Beth- 
esda " becomes a part of the symbolism, and the word 
XtyojUEvov has the sense we have found to be uniform in the 
Gospel. Besides, it is a matter of common knowledge that 
no such pool is elsewhere mentioned, or is anywhere dis- 
coverable in Jerusalem. Says Godet, who, naturally, accepts 
the story literally, rejecting verse 4 : " Commeil est impossible 
d'identifier la piscine de Bethesda avec I'une des sources 
thermales dont nous venons de parler, elle doit avoir ete 
recouverte par les decombres, etc." ! 

Let us now pass to the " place called Lithostroton, but in 
Hebrew Gabbatha " (John xix, 13). However, we need not 
tarry there long. It is well known that all attempts in all 
ages, even by the most ingenious and erudite and sympa- 
thetic scholars, to locate this " stone-strewn " spot have failed 
utterly. Now at last it has become clear that they have all 


the while been seeking in the wrong region, in Jerusalem, 
whereas the " pavement " glittered only in the fancy of the 
Evangelist. It may suffice to refer to the *' conclusion " of 
Canney in the Encyclopcedia Biblica, 3640 : *' It seems not 
unlikely, therefore, that the place Lithostroton-Gabbatha 
existed, as a definite locality, only in the mind of the author." 
The Greek and Hebrew words were hardly mere conceits. 
The author had some reason for preferring them to others — 
reasons that we may or may not be able to discover. That 
he gave the place any name at all was merely a part of his 
general scheme of vivid dramatic representation, by means 
of well-imagined details. 

Only a few steps further on we come to ** the so-called 
Skull's Place, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha " (John 
xix, 17). Surely these two *' places" are nearly related. 
Why should one be taken and the other left? The search 
for Golgotha has been quite as futile as for Gabbatha. But 
the surrender of the latter did not seem to involve such 
serious consequences ; hence it has been more readily made. 
However, the reasons are the same. There is not the 
slightest ground for retaining either as a chorographic 
entity. Matthew, in fact, hints distinctly that the name 
"Golgotha" is a creation, by translating it into Greek 
(xxvii, 33). 

On the other examples it seems needless to dwell. The 
** so-called " names seem to be all secondary or surnames or 
nicknames given for this reason or for that. Thus, "the 
high-priest the so-called Caiaphas " was really named Joseph, 
as we learn from Josephus (^;z/., 18,2, 2,'and^w/., 18,4,3''). 
" The so-called Judas " was merely Judaeus, the Jewish people. 

It appears, then, that the epithet " so-called " (Xeyo/xev-) 
prefixed to a name in Gospel usage uniformly implies that 
such is not the proper name, but is a surname or nickname, 
or it may be merely a fictive name for a mere imagination. 
In no case does it appear to be the real name of a real thing. 
Such at least is the induction made with all care up to the 
" city so-called Nazaret." In every one of thirty-one cases 
such is the result. What, then, shall we say of the thirty- 

* *Ic6(r?77ros 6 /cat Kaia0as SidSoxos ^v a^ry. 
" 'I6<rr}Trov rbv /cat Ka'Ca<})av iiriKoXoOfievov — Joseph him also surnamed Caiaphas. 


second case, the case of Nazaret? We need not invoke the 
calculus of probabilities.^ Common-sense demands imperi- 
ously that the one and only authenticated sense be given 
to the term here, unless some positive and decisive counter 
reason can be given for the other sense. Everyone knows 
that no such opposing reason has ever been either discovered 
or invented ; on the contrary, very strong and wholly inde- 
pendent reasons have been assigned (in Der vorchristliche 
Jesus) for regarding the name as invented to explain the 
much older appellative Nazaraeus, and not one of these has 
yet been invalidated.^ If, then, there is any virtue whatever 
in complete induction, the case seems closed against Nazaret 
as a proper name of a " city so-called." 

Let no one cite the fact that Nazareth occurs eleven times 
without the qualifying ** so-called." A hundred negative 
instances would weigh naught against the one positive 
instance. So, too, the high-priest is eight times simply 
"Caiaphas," and only once the "so-called Caiaphas." The 
surname may very well be used without the participle, as the 
officer may appear without his badge ; but the presence of 
the participle in a single case defines the surname, as the 
badge once worn defines the officer. It is superfluous, then, 
to examine the eleven cases any further, though such exami- 
nation would strongly corroborate our contention. 


Now at last we are prepared to answer the objection 
brought forward so exultantly by Weinel and Weiss, to 

' This is indeed a special case of a very important general problem : There 
are n balls in a bag", all known to be either white or black. There are drawn 
out at random w white balls and b black ones, and none is replaced. What is 
the chance that the next ball drawn out at random will be white ? The 

answer is ^, ^ . If, in the special case in hand, w equals 31 and b equals 

zero, the answer will be 32/33. Hence there would be only one chance in 33 
that Nazaret is used in Matt, ii, 23, as the ordinary name ; there would be 32 
chances in 33 that it was used as some kind of a surname, nickname, or 
fictive name, as in the other cases examined. The probability might, indeed, 
seem far higher than this calculation would show it to be ; for it has not been 
considered that the 31 cases out of 32 indicate strongly that such is the 
uniform usage of the writer ; that there can really be no black balls at all. 
But the result given is sufficient for the purposes of this argument. We do 
not grudge our opponents their three per cent, of probability. 
* See note, p. 292. 



mention no others, that no one would have written Matthew 
ii, 23, '' He settled in a city so-called Nazareth," when any 
Galilean could at once have objected, " There is no such 
city." So, too, the Judsean might have protested that there 
was no such place as Gabbatha or Golgotha or Gethsemane, 
and no such pool as Bethzatha. But Matthew and John 
would have cared for none of these objections, no more than 
any poet or novelist would care for a charge of nominal 
inaccuracy brought against his imaginations. Why might 
not imaginary parents of an imaginary child settle in an 
imaginary town? Neither would Matthew or Luke have 
been moved greatly by the easy demonstration that there 
was no slaughter of babes in Bethlehem, and no transmi- 
gration of peoples at census-taking ; on the contrary, that 
they were commanded to slay at home, each at his own 
hearth-stone;' and still more that there was no "darkness 
over the whole earth until the ninth hour" "from the sixth 
hour." This latter statement, in all the Synoptics, was the 
directest possible slap in the face of all experience, if accepted 
literally ; how, then, could the Evangelists have exposed 
themselves to such a stunning rejoinder as Weinel and Weiss 
would have given them ? What could they have replied to 
such keen-witted critics? They would have smiled wearily, 
and said : " Gentlemen, alas ! that you do not understand. 
The letter killeth, the spirit maketh alive. We are not 
writing history ; we are writing Gospel. We are very sorry 
you do not see our meaning ; but if our Gospel be hid, it is 
hid to them that are lost " (2 Cor. iv, 3). 

No ! we must never forget that the Scriptures were written 
for believers, and not for unbelievers ; for those within, and 
not for "those without." Such readers, "discipled for the 
Kingdom of the heavens," might be trusted to " understand 
all parables." They would not balk at eclipses at impossible 
seasons, whether they lasted three minutes or three hours ; 
they would not stumble over any number of imaginary topo- 
graphic and other details, nor over patent anachronisms and 
absurdities, nor over miraculous narratives galore. For 

^ eiraveVheiv els rh eavrQu i(f>^aTia — edict of Gaius Vibius Maxlmus, on occa- 
sion of census-taking in Egypt, a.d. 104. 


their well-informed sense, even over-instructed to take nothing 
literally, would in every case pierce through the thin shell of 
speech down to the inner kernel of meaning ; the god of this 
world had not blinded their thoughts so that the light of 
the Gospel should not shine through into their hearts. A 
thousand such objections as this of Weinel and Weiss 
might, indeed, have been urged, and actually have been 
urged repeatedly, by the blinded unbelievers, who see the 
sign and mistake it for the signified ; but they are senseless 
and impossible for us after He " has shined in our hearts 
unto illumination of the glorious Gnosis of God." 




That there is a weird fascination in evil would seem to 
be illustrated in the perennial interest that blooms around 
the name of Judas Iscariot. With the ancients it is the 
synonym of sin ; with Dante " that soul up there that suffers 
heavier sentence" is the eponym of the lowest circlet of 
Cocytus, at the apex of the funnel of hell, champed by the 
central jaws of Satan, at the absolute zero of the divine 
warmth of the world. Each new commentary, each new 
*' Life (?) of Jesus, "has its fine-spun theory of the motives 
that actuated the great sinner, just as the ancients regaled 
themselves each with his own fancy concerning the sinner's 
death. These fancies and theories seem one and all to have 
about equal worth — namely, none at all. Illustrious scholars, 
whom it is mercy not to name, have strained the powers of 
rhetoric in description and denunciation of the appalling 
iniquity of the Treasurer of the Twelve Apostles, lashing 
themselves into foam over the utterly passionless and 
indifferent words of the Synoptics. None of this sound and 
fury should detain the sober-minded critic a moment ; but 
the questions remain perplexing and important : Who was 
Judas? What means (I)Skariot(h)? It is the last of these 
that must be treated first. After all that has been written 
on the subject, it seems surprising how little appears sure 
or even highly probable. The form of the name, occurring 
ten or eleven times, is itself most uncertain. In Matthew 
X, 4, it is ** Judas the Iskariotes," but in xxvi, 14, the article is 
omitted. In Mark iii, 19; xiv, 10, it is "Judas Iskarioth"; 
but in xiv, 43, ''Judas (the Iskariotes)," where the authorities 
for and against the parenthesis seem nearly balanced. In 



Luke vi, i6, we read "Judas Iskarioth"; but in xxii, 3, 
"Judas the (so-) called Iskariotes." In John vi, 71, and 
xiii, 26, we read "Judas, (son) of Simon Iskariotes"; but in 
xii, 4, "Judas the Iskariotes," and in xiii, 2, "Judas, Simon's 
(son) Iskariotes." Six times we find the suffix "who 
delivered him up" (never "who betrayed him"), once along 
with "the Iskariotes," Matthew x, 4. Seven times we read 
" one of the twelve," once " one of His disciples." Altogether 
this "Judas " meets us twenty-two times, besides John xiv, 22, 
where we find "Judas, not the Iskariotes." The textual 
variants are countless. Among the more important is the 
reading " from Karyotes " {airo KapvijjTov) in ^, and others at 
John vi, 71 ; also the same in D at John xii, 4 ; xiii, 2, 26, 
and (with the article 6 prefixed) in xiv, 22 ; also the form 
" Skarioth " in D Bit Mark iii, 19 ; Luke vi, 16 ; John vi, 71 ; 
also "Scariotes" in D at Matthew x, 4; xxvi, 14; Mark 
xiv, 10. This D is so highly esteemed by great text critics, 
such as Volkmar, Zahn, Nestle, that they consider its strange 
reading otto Kapviorov as the original and even the only original 
reading in John (which Tischendorf also admits as possible), 
and as confirming the translation of Iskarioth as " Man of 
Kerioth," as if from the Hebrew ^tsh q'riyyoth^ and this 
derivation may be called the accepted one. Holtzmann, 
e,g,y says in Hand-Commentar, i, p. 97 : " Iskarioth=the 
man from Kariot in Juda, Josh, xv, 25." This interpreta- 
tion, however, is encountered by every kind of improbability. 
Dalman rejects it {Die Worte Jesu, pp. 41, 42), recognising 
Iskarioth as the " original" form " unintelligible to the Gospel 
writer himself." His subtle philological reasons may be 
passed over. The more significant facts seem to be that the 
q^Hyyoth of Josh, xv, 25, is not a city or town at all, but is 
the plural of the dialectic form qiryath (city), and refers to a 
" group of places " (Cheyne) in a district Hezron not really 
belonging to Judah, the Revised Version reading correctly 
Qerioth-Hesron ; while the Qerioth of Jer. xlviii, 24, 41, 
Am. ii, 2, belonged to Moab. Keim {Jesus von Nazara, 
ii, 225, n. 2), though regarding the meaning " Man of 
Karioth " as certain, saw the improbability of these Qerioths, 
and accordingly discovered in Josephus a third, now called 
Kuriut — namely, Koreae {B, /., i, 6, 5 ; A., xiv, 3, 4), or 


Korea {B. /., iv, 8, i), in the north of Judah ; but few or 
none seem to have followed him in this identification. 
Wellhausen {Ev, Marci, p. 25) clearly sees the impossibility 
" of thinking of the Hebrew 'ish and translating ' Man of 
Karioth,'" and, rejecting the notion that it is a gentilitial, 
wisely inclines to regard it as "a name of reproach like 
Bandit {Sicarius),''^ Moreover, it must be remembered that 
the Syriac form (Skariota) militates strongly against the 
identification with the Hebrew T^^'y^ U^'^i^. For this Syriac 
form written in Hebrew letters is Hio (1^) 1:DD in both Sinaitic 
and Peshita, with occasional variants in other less important 
MS. It is seen that the Syriac has D, not tr, and D, not p — 
divergences by no means inconsiderable. Of course, it may 
be plausibly said that the Syriac has merely transliterated the 
Greek, as in many other cases — e.g.^ estratiota from stratiotes 
(soldier). But the Syriac form presupposes the absence of 
the initial / from the Greek. True, the Syriac cannot let 
the word begin with a vowel ; however, it would not drop 
the /, but would prefix an Alaf b^, as in the transliteration of 
Akylas, Euodia, Iconium, Olympas, Italia, Hymenius, and 
countless others, or else a Yod (1), as in Italica (Acts x, i).^ 
For every reason, then, we must reject the accepted inter- 
pretation " man of Karioth " as impossible, and at the same 
time the notion that the term is a gentilitial at all. More- 
over, it seems quite impossible to bring the name Iskariot 
into any connection with the venerable and wide-spread stem 
"l^tt), meaning drinky or with any place-name whatever. 

At this point, then, the idea of the Hon. Willis Brewer 
{The Open Court, August, 1909) that the name is connected 
with the Hebrew root S-K-R, and means hired, deserves 
serious consideration. This root occurs often in the Old 
Testament — about forty-seven times — always in the same 
sense of hire, wages, reward, price. In all these cases the 
Hebrew letters are "^Dtl?, whence the common Aramaean terms 
for wage {sekhtroth) and wage-earner (sakhtr) ; but in one 
case (Ezra iv, 5) the later form IDD is used, agreeing exactly 
with the Syriac skar-iota. That Judas should be called the 

^ Of course, Arlmathaea is no exception, since the A seems to represent 
the Ha in the Hebraic Ha-Ramathaim. 


hired sounds very plausible, especially in view of the use 
made by Matthew (xxvii, 9, 10) of the passage Zech. xi, 12, 
where my price (*'^D\t^, sekhart) is twice mentioned. How- 
ever, while admiring this suggestion, we must not adopt it 
hastily. For the older narrative (in Mark) makes no mention 
of this Old Testament passage. The name would seem, then, 
to have originated independently. Besides, the termination 
remains unexplained, though this is not so important, and 
one feels that an active rather than a passive sense is 

But there is another root S-K-R (^DD) appearing in the 
Old Testament, and once in the exact sense which the New 
Testament seems to require. In Isaiah xix, 4, we read : 
" And / will give over Egypt into the hands of a cruel lord." 
It is true this stem regularly means ''shut up," in Hebrew, 
Aramaean, and Syriac, and so may be rendered even here 
(Cheyne) ; it is also true that Ezek. xxx, 12 — "■ I will sell the 
land into the hand of the wicked " — suggests that the D may 
be a mistake for ^, sikkarti for makharti. But neither of 
these facts can affect the case, for the text was certainly read 
and understood in that day precisely as it is now. This is 
proved by the Septuagint, which renders the sikkarti by 
7rapadu)(TU) = I will deliver up. It is well known that this 
Greek verb 7ra/oaStSovat does not mean to betray^ but to give up, 
to hand over, to deliver, to surrender — like forgive in its 
absolute sense, as in Ben Jonson's line : '' It shall, if you 
will ; I forgive my right" (Cynthia^ s Revels, v, 2) ; and so it 
is rendered countless times everywhere in the New Testa- 
ment, save in connection with Judas, where it is universally 
rendered betray. But if the Evangelist had meant betray, he 
would have said it; the Greek prodidonai was familiar and at 
hand, and is constantly used by ecclesiastical writers instead 
of the NQwTestSLmQnt paradidonai. That betray wsls not meant, 
hut deliver, is plain from the apparent avoidance of the notion 
betray. There were many occasions to speak of Judas as the 
Traitor {prodotes) ; but only in Luke vi, 16, is he so called, 
since there is no word paradotes, deliverer-up, Ueberlieferer ; 
elsewhere a circumlocution is used, as "who delivered him 
up," etc. Furthermore, the Sinaitic Syriac version {teste 
Adalbert Merx) definitely terms him always the Deliverer-up, 


never the Betrayer, not even in Luke vi, 16, where alone the 
Greek does v^did prodotes (traitor). 

At this point someone may take down Liddell and Scott, 
and read under Trapa^i'^udjiL : '' Also with collat. notion of 
treachery, like irpo^i^ovai', Lat. prodere, Xen., Cyr.y v, 4, 51 ; 
Paus.y i, 2, I." Now, undoubtedly, a man might surrender 
traitorously, even as he might kiss, or embrace, or write, or 
speak, or do many other things traitorously. But all this by 
no means implies that to kiss, to embrace, to write, to speak, 
ever means to betray. Accordingly, in none of the instances 
cited is it proper to render the word by betray. Whatever 
" collateral notion " of treachery may be present is to be 
found in the circumstances of the case, not in the word 
used, which still means simply "deliver up." In Xen., Cyr., 
it is stated that two strongholds under fear of Cyrus and 
persuasions of Gadatas were induced to give up their garrison 
(£7r£f(T£ irapa^ovvai rovq (pyXarrovTag), Perhaps Gadatas did 
corrupt the authorities, but Xenophon has no interest in that 
fact ; it would do no honour to Cyrus, and accordingly he is 
content to say they gave up the guards, with no further 
specification. He did not wish to say they betrayed the 
guards, else he would have said so ; and Dindorf has cor- 
rectly translated " perfectum est ut custodes dederent." In 
Pausanias's Attika we read that "at the entrance into the 

city there is a monument to the Amazon Antiope that 

when Herakles laid siege to Themiskyra on the Thermodon, 
but was unable to take it, Antiope, enamoured of Theseus 
(who was warfaring with Herakles), delivered up the strong- 
hold." Such was the story of the Troezenian Hegias ; the 
Athenians told another. Doubtless the surrender in this 
case was traitorous enough. But there is nothing in the 
language to show it. Monuments are rarely erected to 
traitors ; the story-teller was too gallant to blacken the 
memory of the Amazon, and hence he preferred to say 
she delivered up the stronghold. Now if someone says that 
the deed of Judas, however described, was quite as treacher- 
ous, the answer is that we have no interest in denying this 
assertion. We are not concerned with the moral quality of 
Iscariot's act, but only with the Evangelist's representation of 
the act ; and without any palliation of his offence we must 


reaffirm that the Gospel everywhere represents it not as a 
betrayal, but merely as a surrender. It seems curious that 
the same word (he was delivered up) should be used of John 
the Baptist where there is no question of treachery, and yet 
no visible propriety in the term deliver up. Who surrendered 
him? — and why? It seems useless to conjecture. But how- 
ever such questions may be answered, we may still say with 
perfect confidence that the Gospels everywhere represent 
Judas as the Deliverer-up^ never as Traitor. 

Now compare the words (I)Scariot(h) and sikkarti in their 
Hebrew and Syriac forms, one under the other : — 

Surely the resemblance is altogether too great to be acci- 
dental. It is still further increased almost to practical 
identity when we reflect that the form "■ Iskarioth," apparently 
the oldest, requires n, instead of to, and that the Syriac 
Alaf (^) is regularly used to vocalise, representing both a and 
e, and this long e confounds with i. However, on vocalisa- 
tions, whether initial, medial, or final, one can lay no stress. 
The important point is that the epithet (I)Skariot and the 
Hebrew sikkarti (deliver up) are nearly identical in form. 
The immediate and unescapable inference is that (I)scariot(h) 
is only a very thinly disguised^ form of the Hebrew, and 
simply means the surrenderer ; so that the recurrent suffixes 
of the Greek text, ** Who-also-delivered-him-up," *' the 
deliverer-up," etc., are merely translations of the epithet 
(I)skariot(h), where the kai (also) in the Greek seems to 
re-echo the initial 1 in the Hebrew. This seems to be as 
natural as possible — almost inevitable, for it can hardly be 
casual coincidence that the Greek suffixes yield the apparent 
meaning of the Semitic name. (I)skariot(h) is, then, pre- 
cisely what Wellhausen felt it must be, a "Schimpfname," 
a sobriquet, an opprobrious nick-name — the most appropriate, 
and even unavoidable. We recall, finally, that in Isaiah 

' Absolute identity is, of course, not to be sought for. The artist who 
first devised the name knew that the word in Isaiah (xix, 4) was a verb^ and 
he designed to reproduce it in a noun-iovvsx not exactly but near enough to 
make the name a kind of riddle " vocal to the wise." One may suspect that he 
modelled the form Skariotes on Stratiotes, though there are other possibilities. 


(xix, 4) the surrender is into the hands of a cruel lord, and in 
Ez. XXX, 12, the sale is into the hands of wicked men, echoes 
of which we seem to hear in the Gospel phrases, " into the hands 
of sinners" or "sinful men." — The possible claims of "^ptlJ 
(deception) in this connection, in spite of the phrase y)J2}2 
IpUlj need not be canvassed. 


The second problem, of (I)scariot(h), would seem, then, 
to be solved, and, in fact, in a surprisingly satisfactory- 
manner. But the question remains, ** Who was Judas?" 
Against the view that he was a mere man, like Arnold or 
Burr, there lie the weightiest considerations. In the first 
place, the motive to surrender seems utterly lacking. The 
conceit that he wished to provoke Jesus to a display of 
miraculous power and an immediate establishment of the 
Kingdom is quite inadmissible, though championed by 
De Quincey and, mirahile dictu^ by the later Volkmar {Jesus 
Nazarenusy p. 121). Suppose the plan had succeeded, what 
good would it have done Judas? Would Jesus have kept 
him in his place as treasurer after such treason ? That Judas 
was a veritable devil from the start seems to be the most 
plausible explanation, and extreme orthodoxy might indeed 
maintain that he was chosen by Jesus because of his devilry, 
as an instrument towards the divinely appointed end. This 
would seem to be consistent enough, and orthodoxy shows 
itself here, as at so many other points, far superior in 
dialectic alertness to Liberalism, which is deplorably 
illogical, limping on both legs. But can any one seriously 
entertain such a notion ? There is not the slightest hint of 
it in the Synoptics. These know nothing of Judas as a bad 
man. They say he ** surrendered " Jesus to the authorities, 
nothing more. Even the money (a contemptible four-months* 
wages, according to Matthew) appears as a perfectly voluntary 
bonus in Mark's account, promised him after his proposal to 
the high-priests. But on this circumstance we lay no stress. 
It seems strange, however, that the Synoptics should have no 
word of condemnation for the surrenderer ; still stranger that 
they should never assign any motive for the surrender, 


especially as they are very free with motives in general. 
Apparently they were no wiser than the moderns, and could 
find no explanation. Otherwise Luke would hardly have 
ascribed Iscarioth's conduct to the devil that had entered 
into him, which would seem to be a dernier ressort. John, 
according to his wont, goes much further, declaring that 
Judas was a thief, that the devil prompted him to the 
surrender, that Satan entered into him, who himself was a 
devil. All this we recognise at once as part of John's 
manner in working over the Synoptists. It seems even 
plainer from these imaginary reasons than from the discreeter 
silence of Matthew, and especially of Mark, that the Evan- 
gelists could imagine no plausible reason for the surrender. 
And yet the reason, had there been any, could scarcely have 
been kept so profound a secret. Moreover, even if it had 
not been discoverable, why were Matthew, and particularly 
Mark, so utterly indifferent thereto? Their fancies were 
lively ; why did they not invent a reason ? The only answer 
would seem to be that Mark at least felt that the matter was 
not one for the assignment of human motives ; that it could 
not be understood in any such childish way. 

If the surrender be contemplated from the side of the 
authorities, it is equally incomprehensible. What need had 
they of Judas and his kiss? None whatever. Undoubtedly 
they could have arrested Jesus at any time anywhere in 
broad daylight, in perfect safety. His disciples seem to have 
been unarmed or indisposed to much resistance, even if one 
did cut off an ''earlet." He himself sits apparently alone 
and unnoticed, quietly watching the throng cast in contri- 
butions to the temple treasury. And what need to fear the 
people, who cried ** Crucify him, crucify him "? Look at it, 
then, which way you will, the surrender appears unmotived, 
unnecessary, unintelligible. Moreover, it seems to have 
formed no part of the earliest tradition. In the Apocalypse 
(xxi, 14) the Twelve appear unbroken in array, as immovable 
foundations of the celestial city-wall ; there is no hint of 
defection. " The Apostle," too, speaks of the Jesus as appear- 
ing to the Twelve, though it is possible that twelve might be 
used here technically, even if only eleven had been present. 
To be sure, he does refer to a surrender in the words, " the 


same night in which he was surrendered," but makes no 
allusion to the surrenderee Some one may say such allusion 
was unnecessary. Perhaps ; but on closer scrutiny we are 
astounded at the nature of the Apostle's statement : '' For it 
is from the Lord that I received what I also delivered to you, 
that the Lord Jesus, etc." (tyw yap irap^Xafiov airo rov Kvpiov, 
o jcat TrapidujKa vjXiv). Notice the emphatic position of the 
lyu) : Whatever others may say, " I received from the Lord," 
etc. Critics in despair may say that " from the Lord " means 
from the Jerusalem Church, the Urgemeinde of German 
imagination. But such a consummate Grecian as Georg 
Heinrici knows better, and plainly tells us (in Meyer's Kom- 
mejttary pp. 325 /) that there is no such reference. It is, 
indeed, plain that none of the Apostle's readers would think 
of understanding " I received from the Lord " as " I received 
from Peter or John "; it is only the bewildered modern com- 
mentator that could stumble on such an idea. The reference 
must be to some form of supernatural revelation. Hence it 
can at most testify to a subjective experience of the Apostle's, 
not to any tradition of the Twelve. Besides, the present 
writer seems to have proved decisively that this passage is 
an interpolation in the Corinthian Epistle (pp. i/\6ff). As to 
the account (in Acts i) of the election of Matthias (of whom 
we never hear again) to the vacancy caused by the lapse of 
Judas, its late origin lies open to view in the statements 
about the field Akel-damach = field of sleeping = cemetery. 
The consciousness revealed is clearly impossible for one 
speaking of an event that could have occurred at the earliest 
less than two months before. The speech, then, has been 
composed by the historian ('* for the Scriptures must needs 
be fulfilled ") and placed in the mouth of Peter. We notice 
that Judas is here spoken of as a ''guide." 

We are unable, then, to find the notion of a man Judas 
as surrenderer in the earliest extra-evangelic forms of the 
Christian story ; outside of the Gospels there is no real 
support of the statements that the Gospels themselves fail to 
make comprehensible. Now consider for a moment what it 
is that one can properly be said to surrender or deliver up. 
Surely nothing but what one has ; surrender and delivery 
seem to imply previous possession. But in what possible 


sense could Judas be said ever to have possessed the Jesus? 
As a man, in none at all. Moreover, as the conduct of a 
man his surrender has been seen to be in every way unintel- 
ligible. But are we sure that he was a man ? To my mind, 
he was surely not. Is it mere accident that Judas is so 
nearly Judceus ? Or does he stand for Jewry, for the Jewish 
people ? This seems to become a necessary hypothesis as 
soon as we perceive the impossibility of understanding Judas 
as a man. On this hypothesis everything becomes clear. 
The delivery was really to the Gentiles ; the phrase, " They 
[the Jewish authorities] shall deliver him to the Gentiles," 
seems to belong to the earliest Gospel narrative (Matthew 
XX, 19 ; Mark x, 33 ; Luke xviii, 32), and to lay bare the heart 
of the whole matter. It is noteworthy that while in Matthew 
and Mark the surrender to the Jewish authorities is mentioned 
first, and afterwards the surrender to the Gentiles, in Luke 
this latter alone is mentioned. Luke certainly presents 
generally a younger form than Mark, but occasionally, it 
would seem, an older, which need not surprise us. I suspect 
that the oldest thought was of the surrender of the great Idea 
of the Jesus, of the Jesus-cult, by the Jews to the heathen. 
This, in fact, was the supreme^ the astounding^ fact of early 
Christian history^ and engaged intensely the minds of men. 
It is not strange that it should find such manifold expression 
by parable and by symbol in the Gospels. The wonder would 
be if it had not. The story of Judas and his surrender seems 
to be the most dramatic treatment the great fact has any- 
where received. Other less elaborate sketches are found in 
the parables of Dives and Lazarus, of the Prodigal Son, and 
of the Rich One who " with lowering look went away (from 
Jesus) sorrowful, for he had many possessions " (the Law, 
the Prophets, the Promises, the Oracles of God). That 
Israel is here meant becomes evident, if not already so, when 
we compare Mark x, 22, '' But he with lowering look, at the 
word, went away grieving,"^ with Isaiah Ivii, 17, "And he 
was grieved, and went on with lowering look in his ways.'*"* 

* 6 5^ OTiryj/cto-as eTrt t^ X67<fJ aTrr\\Qev Xwovfievos. 

' Kal iXvTnfjdT] koI iiropevdrj crrvyvbs iv ra?s 65ots airov. In Kautzsch's Text 
Bihel (1904) we find the Hebrew translated (by Victor Ryssel) thus : "Then 
went he backsliding thence on self-chosen way." In the latest edition Budde 


The prophet is describing God's dealing with Jacob, who is 
still his Beloved, though grieved for a brief season (^paxv n). 
The very rare Septuagint verb (TTvyvdZo) shows that Mark is 
merely re-echoing Isaiah, although Dittmar does not note 
the parallel. There are enough other considerations that 
confirm this interpretation ; but there is space to mention 
only one — namely, that the Jesus '' loved " this Rich One. 
Now, this ascription of such a feeling to the Jesus is quite 
without parallel in Mark, whose picture of the Jesus is sin- 
gularly devoid of human attributes — cnrXayxviZoiuLaL (used thrice 
of the Jesus) is an exception that strongly confirms the rule ; 
it merely renders the Old Testament DFI"^. constantly and 
practically exclusively used of or in connection with Jehovah, 
exceptions being really confirmatory. The explanation is 
simple and near-lying. Says Jehovah (Hosea xi, i) : " When 
Israel was young, then I loved him." That Matthew (xix, 
16-26) felt such to be the reference is hinted with exquisite 
art in the word vtavto-Koc, which he applies to the Rich One, 
who, according to Mark, had kept all commands '' from his 
youth," which must then have been behind him. But 
Matthew, as every one knows, was a literalist, setting great 
store by the exact words of the Scripture ; and, observing 
that Israel was young when loved, he boldly turned Mark's 
One (elc) into a Youth (veavio-zcoc). What other explanation 
can be offered for this "correction of Mark"? 

Of course, it is easy to say that the symbolism of Judas 
(=Judaeus) has not been carried out consistently. The 
surrender is made to the Jews themselves (high-priest and 
other dignitaries), who then deliver to the heathen. We 
answer that the symbol has come down to us only in a highly 
elaborated and historicised form ; such elaboration must 
always do violence to the original idea. A symbol, no more 
than a metaphor, will bear pressing, though often pressed. 
A single point of even remote resemblance will suffice for 
any simile. 

Beholding whom, men think how fairer far 
Than all the steadfast stars the wandering star ! 

In a cool hour Mr. Lang would doubtless confess and deny 

translates it thus: "And he went apostate, whither his heart drove him 
{strictly, on the way of his heart)." 


not, and that, too, without prejudice to the great beauty of 
his verses, that the likeness of Lord Byron to any known 
member of our planetary system is extremely faint and 
elusive. The ways of the overworker are past finding out ; 
it would be idle to attempt to trace the steps that have con- 
ducted to such a composite result as now lies before us in 
the Gospels. Yet even there the evidences of gradual evolu- 
tion from Mark to John are open and manifest. Let us 
remember that even the former transports us not to the 
source, but only half-way up the stream. When we consider 
other parts of the evangelic narrative and note the rich 
harvests — thirty, sixty, a hundred-fold — that have been 
garnered from single seminal ideas, the development assumed 
in the present case seems scarcely excessive. But the inter- 
pretation of Judas here suggested is not presented as a finality 
nor as proved by the considerations advanced. It is part of 
a general system of New Testament exegesis ; it stands or 
falls with the present writer's total conception of the genesis 
of Christianity, to which it lends, but from which in far 
greater measure it borrows, strength. 

Not so, however, the decipherment of (I)scariot(h). This 
is a philologic matter, not by any means sharing the fate of 
any theory of Christian origins, but apparently solitary as 
Kant's Thing-in-Itself. But even it may nevertheless enter 
into relations. For the well-attested Z)-form, airo KapvwTovy 
must now appear as an early attempt to interpret the epithet 
Iskariot, the force of which was no longer felt. Hereby a 
strong sidelight is thrown on a seemingly similar attempt 
to interpret the far more important epithet, Nazaratos. It 
seems to be proved that this appellative was a very old one, 
antedating our era (see Der vorchristliche Jesus, ii) ; in fact, 
we find the name Nasiru embedded in a list of tribes or classes 
on the clay tablet inscription of Tiglath-Pileser III. We 
may be sure that the name is not derived from Nazareth, but 
is a development from the familiar stem N-S-R, meaning 
guard, protect. However, in Matthew ii, 23, the term is 
deduced from Nazareth, which city, under various forms of 
the name, is thoroughly naturalised in our Gospels. Even 
in Mark i, 9, we read that "Jesus came from (airo) Nazareth 
of Galilee." This seems like a later addition to the narrative, 


as indicated by the title 'Itjo-ovc, used here without the article, 
but elsewhere regularly with it, in this Gospel.' Moreover, 
the text is uncertain ; the reading elg for ano may be older. 
In Matthew (xxi, 11) we find *'the prophet Jesus 6 airo NaSap^O," 
and the same Greek phrase also in John i, 45 ; Acts x, 38. 
We may now understand this phrase. It seems to be nothing 
but an attempt to explain Nazoraios^ precisely as aTro Kapvwrov 
is an attempt to explain {I)skarwL As to Nazareth itself, of 
course it is there now, plain to see f but in olden times it 
seems to have borne another name, Hinnaton, according to 
the testimony of the El-Amarna tablets and the Annals of 
Tiglath-Pileser III. Both words mean the same — namely, 
defence, protection ; and we may now see how the '* city 
called Nazareth " may have come into being. The new 
name Nazareth, meaning defence, was applied to the old 
town Hinnaton, meaning protection. Some perceived that 
this name would not yet yield the desired gentilitial Nazaree, 
and accordingly wrote it Nazara, the form preferred by Keim, 
but too weakly attested. It would seem, then, that the 
mystery surrounding these names is clearing up. 

The passages in the tablets are, according to Winckler : 
In II (13-17), letter of Burraburias, King of Kardunias, to 
Naphururia, King of Egypt : " Now my merchants, who 
journeyed with Ahi-tabu, and tarried in Kinahhi on business: 
after Ahi-tabu went on his way to my brother, in city Hi-in- 
na-tu-ni of land Kinahhi [i-na (alu) Hi-in-na-tu-ni sa (matu) 
Ki-na-ah-hi, etc.]." Ki-na-ah-hi = Canaan. Further, 196 
(24-32), in the continuation of a letter we find : '' But Surata 
took Lapaja out of Magidda, and said to me, ^ Upon a ship 
I will bring him to the king.' But Surata took him and sent 
him from (city) Hinatuni home [u ji-tar-sir-su is-tu (alu) 
Hi-na-tu-na a-na biti-su]." 

The inscription in the Annals (as edited by Paul Rost, 

1893) reads : " i. 232 [sal-lat] (alu) Hi-na-tu-na, 650 

sal-lat (alu) Ka-na (captives) (city) Hi-na-tu-na, 

650 captives (city) Ka-na ." As the record is lost after 

Ka-na, we cannot be sure that Cana of Galilee is meant. If 

* Vocatives and i, i, x, 47, xvi, 6, naturally excepted. 

'^ Yet Burkitt seems to think the modern has naug-ht to do with the ancient 
village, which latter he would rather identify with Chorazin, 


one should find a scrap of paper torn immediately after the 
letters Adria^ one would not be sure that the reference was 
to Adria in Italy ; it might be to Adrianople. But since 
Hinatuni was certainly in Canaan, the suggestion of Cana, 
six miles north of our Nazareth (= Hinatuni), appears to lie 
near at hand. 

That Judas Iscariot typifies the Jewish people in its rejection 
of the Jesus-cult seems so obvious, it seems to meet us so 
close to the threshold of the inner sense of the New Testa- 
ment, that it may move our wonder that any one should over- 
look it. However, the ablest, and even the boldest, the most 
lynx-eyed, critics have passed it by. In Cramer's Catena we 
find only inanities on the theme of Judas ; he is no longer 
the Surrenderer, but the Traitor {prodotes) — pro has, indeed, 
quite displaced para — and his covetousness and general vile- 
ness wax page after page. At John xiii, 30, it is asked : 
*' Why does the Evangelist say that it was night when Judas 
went out? To teach us how reckless he was, for not even 
the time (of day) could restrain his impulse." From such 
there is naught to hope. Bruno Bauer, of course, ** resolved " 
the whole thing into a caustic curve, formed by reflections 
from the Old Testament. In this case he found the main 
surface of reflection in Psalm xli, 9 : *' Yea, mine familiar 
friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath 
lifted up heel against me " {Kritik der evangelischen Ges~ 
chichte, xiii, 85, 4). " Out of that Psalm-word the whole 
scene has arisen." But he does not seem to connect Judas 
with Jewry. Strauss discusses Judas at length {Lebenjesu 
kritisch hearheitet, §§ 118, 119), but without throwing any 
light on the matter. Volkmar, who fixed his gaze so intently 
on the Gospels, and who saw deeper than any of his con- 
temporaries (with the possible exception of Loman), in his 
great work Marcus (p. 555) declared that " for Mark, Judas, 
one of the Twelve, is the symbol of the Judaism that slew the 
Christ J which in the first disciples was most closely united with 
Him till the end^ Iskariot, however, he still regarded as 
historical and as "actually notorious as apostate." Upon him 
Mark seized as a fitting vehicle for his own idea of Judaism, 
and the fusion of the symbolic and historic yielded us Judas- 
Iskariot. Volkmar has no doubt that this last word means 


" Man of Kerioth," and is rightly explained by D's form, 
aTTo KapvwToVf in John. The great Zuricher had wonderful 
insight. His Marcus (1875) is, indeed, a volume of visions ; 
but it is almost unreadable, and was long since sealed with 
the seven seals of oblivion, which even Wrede could not 
loose. He himself shrank back half affrighted at what he 
saw, and in his swan song {Jesus Nazarenus^ 1882) we seem 
to hear a palinode. Meantime his central critical thesis of 
the priority of Mark has become a commonplace of criticism, 
though the Logia-source, so diligently exploited by Matthew, 
might seem to boast justly still higher antiquity. Volkmar's 
notion that the Pauline Mark, by insistence on the phrase 
" One of the Twelve," means to hint that a certain element of 
the old Judaism clung to the last to " the primitive group of 
disciples," has, indeed, a certain plausibility ; but it seems to 
assume a primitive group that never existed, to make this 
Gospel unnecessarily controversial, and to magnify a rela- 
tively insignificant matter, as did Baur's criticism in general, 
even in its later and most severely critical presentments. 


In t\iQ Hibbert Journal, July (191 1), p. 891, Professor Cheyne 
thinks the derivation of Skariot from sikkarW might perhaps 
pass if sikkarti occurred in a passage like Psalm xli, 9, one 
of the stock-passages on which a pre-Christian scheme of the 
life of the God-man would be based. Otherwise not, etc." 

The syllogism seems to be that no unfamiliar passage 
would be used by the artist in constructing " the scheme of 
the life, etc."; this (Isaiah xix, 4) is an unfamiliar passage, 
therefore it would not be so used — a very pretty Celarent, 
but for a limp in both legs. We have no right to suppose 
that passages unfamiliar to us were also unfamiliar to the 
men of one book, the intense religionists of the border 
centuries. The number of direct citations from the Old 
Testament in the New and in related works is very great, 


but the number of hints and oblique aUusions to the Old 
Testament is far greater still. Dittmar's extremely com- 
pacted Catalogue of Parallels^ containing only the numbers 
of chapters and verses, but no word of citation, covers sixty- 
four large pages, and yet makes no pretension to completeness. 
It would appear that the whole of the Old Testament was 
embraced in the collective religious consciousness of that 
era. While some passages might be called stock-passages, 
yet almost any passage, even in Nehemiah or Canticles or 
Esther, might at any moment be called into play. So much 
against the major premiss de jure^ as Arnauld would say. 
But the minor is equally faulty de facto. For it happens that 
the immediately preceding verse (xix, 2) is actually exploited 
in the Gospels — Matthew xxiv, 7 ; Mark xiii, 8 ; Lukexxi, 10 
(" Nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom ") ; 
at least, so think Dittmar and others. There seem to be still 
other echoes in the New Testament, but on these we need not 
insist. It seems plain that the " Utterance of Egypt," whether 
Isaianic or not, is no unimportant part of the book of the 
Prophet, nor is there any reason for depreciating it or sup- 
posing it unfamiliar to the pre- and Proto-Christians. 

Professor Cheyne wisely recognises that ''Jesus of 
Nazareth was not betrayed or surrendered to the Jewish 
authorities, whether by * Judas' or by any one else." Still 
further he declares : "The ^Twelve Apostles,' too, are to me 
as unhistorical as the seventy disciples." These things are 
nobly and bravely said. ^ But the illustrious critic still clings, 
not, indeed, it would seem, to any real, living, breathing, 
pulsing Jesus the man, but to the merest simulacrum, as 
empty of any value as the exuviae of animals. The Jesus 
of orthodoxy is, indeed, a glorious being, although without 
scriptural or other warrant. The Jesus of Renan is also not 
inglorious, though no more historically and far less logically 
warranted. The Jesus of Cheyne and Loisy and Wellhausen 

^ It seems strang-e to add that " the surrender cannot be separated from 

the end of the surrenderer ; if the one is symbolical, so also ought to be the 
other." For the separation is actual in Mark, who says nothing of the«" end " 
of Judas. Plainly the contradictory stories of his end (Matthew xxvii, 3-10, 
Acts i, 15-26) are much later fancies. That the Jews took no offence at the 
symbolism of which they " do not appear to have had any inkling," need move 
no one's wonder. Surely there was enough else " offensive " in the New Testa- 
ment which they passed by in silence. 


is not only precisely as unwarranted, but is also weak, 
miserable, and functionless, entirely superfluous on the stage 
of history, explaining absolutely nothing, but blocking every 
otherwise satisfactory explanation, an utterly unmanageable 
fifth wheel to the car of critico-historical theory. Why such 
scholars should insist on retaining such a factor after reducing 
its potency absolutely to zero is truly bewildering. The 
motive, whatever it may be, seems entirely illogical, and yet 
it can hardly be sentimental, for the simulacrum in question 
satisfies no emotional need ; it is not especially lovable, not 
beautiful, not attractive, not impressive, not even particularly, 
much less uniquely, admirable.^ Verily such a critic may 
exclaim : " Me miserable ! Who shall deliver me from this 
body of death?" 

Professor Cheyne thinks there is need for some general 
theory that shall *' explain whole groups of similar names in 
the Old and New Testaments " — a consummation devoutly 
to be wished ; and no man has ever lived more competent to 
frame one. He holds '' that all the surnames of the Apostles 
in the Gospels come from old names of regions or districts 
with which the families of the bearers had been connected, 
and the true meaning of which had generally been long 
forgotten " — a most ingenious hypothesis ; but in the nature 
of the case it would require a huge amount of well-sifted 
evidence to give it standing. Accordingly, ** Iscariot, then, 
is a corruption of an old name, the full form of which was 
Ashhart, or, with the gentilic suffix, Ashhartai." One awaits 
with lively interest the production of the proofs which Pro- 
fessor Cheyne must have in reserve. Meantime, if the 
" Twelve Apostles " were unhistorical, were not the " bearers " 
of the surnames of the Apostles as well as their families 
equally unhistorical ? And what, then, shall we think of the 
" regions or districts with which the families of the (imaginary) 
bearers had been connected "? One can hardly be sure in 

* Nay, alas ! the case is even worse, far worse. According- to the 
" eschatological theory," now in full feather and favour, the latest cloud-form 
of critical " dust that rises up and is lig-htly laid again," the Jesus was nothing 
but an '* ignorant enthusiast " — but one of many ! — whose foolish teaching has 
conquered the intelligence of the alien Aryan race and shaped the civilisation 
of thousands of years ! Such criticism must be thrice welcome in Ultra- 
montaine circles, for it constitutes the reductio ad absurdum of Rationalism, a 
demonstration that he who runs may read and understand and never forget. 


such matters, yet it might appear that ung-eographical regions 
or districts were quite good enough for unhistorical Apostles. 
And when every other obstacle is overcome, how shall we 
explain the central fact that Skariot is so often declared 
gratuitously to be *' the surrenderer," unless this be what 
Skariot really means? This is the coincidence that can 
hardly be accidental, and is explained by no other etymology 
of the name. One need not insist on the obvious fact that, 
if Iscariot be a corruption of Ashharti, it is a corruption 
sufficiently corrupt. 

Professor Cheyne asks : " Need I remark that, in Hebrew, 
*the guardian' would be ha-noser^ not ha-nosriV Inas- 
much as three pages of Der vorchristliche Jesus (47-50) are 
given to the consideration of this point, the answer would 
seem to be that one need not. But when it is said that " surely 
neither Hannathon nor Nazareth means defence^'' it must 
be replied that authorities seem to differ. Professor Cheyne 
refers to Hannathon and Nazareth in the Encyclopcedia 
Biblica, One may read the nine lines on " Hannathon " and 
the interesting article on *' Nazareth " repeatedly, without 
finding any reason for the statement just quoted. Professor 
Haupt declares : " Both Hittalon and Hinnathon mean 
protection " — a judgment, so far as Hinnatuni is concerned, 
confirmed by other most eminent Assyriologists. As to 
Nazareth, the force of the termination may be uncertain, 
even as the termination itself is, but hardly the stem Nazar, 
which appears in the older form Nasar-aioi ; and about the 
Hebrew Nasar (to guard) there is no doubt. 

The interpretation given to the name of " the city called 
Nazareth" as *' the place of shooting plants" does not con- 
vince at once by its inherent plausibility. 

In the statements that "the name underlying Nazareth is 
clearly Resin (or Rezon)," that ** the people transposed the 
letters to produce a more pleasing or obvious sense, and 
Nazareth (place of shooting plants) and Nazorai (Nazarene) 
were the results," we recognise the conjectures of a supreme 
scholar ; but we do not forget that just such a scholar 
(Bentley) similarly conjectured that " darkness visible " should 
be read " transpicuous gloom," as producing " a more pleasing 
or obvious sense." It maybe that Paris is but such an inver- 

ADDENDUM 11. 321 

sion of Serap(h), the people having transposed the letters to 
disguise the allusion to the ancient worship there of Serapis ; 
but the judgment does not approve itself on bare statement. 
It may not be out of place to remark that Bousset now 
surrenders Nazareth as the original of Nazaree,and apparently 
also as a geographic entity. He looks with favour on Well- 
hausen's second view, that " Gen is the garden," and that 
Gen-nesar means Garden of Nesar or Galilee (though Cheyne 
himself corrects — after Buhl — the notion that Halevy, to 
whom Wellhausen appeals, says Nesar = Galilee). Gan is 
certainly garden; but why think it present in Ge-nesar, 
especially as Wellhausen himself has said that the " Ge is 
certainly ^^"1:1 " (valley), quite unrelated to Gan ? In fact, it 
is hard to keep up with the recent conjectures of Orientalists 
concerning Nazareth, for "thick and fast they come at last, 
And more and more and more." But they all seem ephemeral, 
for they overlook the central and vital fact that Nasaree was 
a religious term or designation ; it expressed some religious 
peculiarity of the sect that bore it ; and when the multiplied 
conceits of linguistic ingenuity are all finally laid to rest the 
obvious reference will be seen to be to the perfectly familiar 
and apparent Hebrew stem nasar (to guard). As Winckler 
has so well expressed it : '* From the concept neger is named 
the religion of those who believe on the * Saviour': Nazarene- 
Christians and Nosairier. Nazareth as the home of Jesus 
forms only a confirmation of his Saviour-nature, in the 
symbolising play of words." (See my note in Das freie 
Wbrtj July, 191 1, p. 266.) The notions of Guardian and 
Saviour are so closely akin that Servator and Salvator are 
used almost interchangeably as applied to the Jesus. 


In view of the great importance attaching to a correct inter- 
pretation of the incident of the Rich One, it may be well to 
look at the recital more narrowly than has been done already 


(p* 98 ff)t even at the cost of a certain amount of repeti- 
tion. It is found in Mark x, 17-31 ; Matthew xix, 16-30; 
Luke xviii, 18-30. Observe in the first place that the incident 
takes place just as Jesus enters Judsea. The One comes 
running, and falls down on his knees (worshipping), and 
asks : " Master, what good shall I do that I may have life 
everlasting?" This seems to imply at the very least that 
the One knew well of the Jesus, and recognised in him a 
superhuman knowledge, a personality that called for worship. 
Now, this seems nearly impossible on any probable theory of 
the human Jesus. For he had not been in Judaea, and we 
can hardly believe that the fame of his deeds had so excited 
the imaginations of the most pious Judseans as to prompt such 
worship and such a question. We observe further that this 
One is suffering from no ailment. He seems to be in perfect 
health, he runs^ whereas the Galileans were practically all 
invalids: "And followed him many, and he healed them 
all " (Matthew xii, 15). Neither does the Jesus find any leper 
or demoniac or other sick person in Judaea, save only blind 
beggar Bartimaios (son of Timaios). Why was this? Was 
not the salubrity of Galilee quite equal, if not indeed superior, 
to that of Jud^a ? Why do all maladies and miseries vanish, 
leaving only health and wealth behind, as soon as we cross 
the border of Jud^a? There seems to be but one answer. 
The one disease that, under a '' legion " of names, afflicted 
Galilee of the Gentiles was false worship, irreligion. On 
that alone did the Evangelist have his eye fixed ; that alone 
was destroyed by the introduction of the Jesus-cult. But in 
Judaea, where the true worship prevailed, it was quite impos- 
sible there should be wrought any miracles in healing pagan 
error. None the less, there was blindness in Jewry, whether 
among the Jews proper or among the proselytes, neither of 
whom recognised the Jesus-cult when it came. Some of the 
humbler were healed of this blindness, and became his 
followers. Such seems to be, in general, the meaning of 
the miracle of Jericho, though as to details opinions may go 
wide asunder. 

It seems hard to reason with any one who, as the learned 
Keim {Jesus von Nazara, iii, 53), thinks that **the reasons 
preponderate in favour of the historicity of this incident," 


and tries to rationalise it by piling up lofty phrases about the 
" Woge7i and Wallen of the religious spirit," and ''a trust 
which, with its tempestuous onset, could directly enhance the 
vital and neural energies of the body and restore the diseased 
or destroyed power of vision for a time or for ever." Such 
pages as 51-53 form very melancholy reading. That Blind 
Bartimaios is an emblem seems sure beyond all doubt. 
Witness the fact that Matthew does not hesitate to make two 
of the one, probably glancing at both worlds, the Gentile and 
the Jewish.' But what does he symbolise? That is not so 
clear. The obvious suggestion is the Jewish world, as indi- 
cated by the circumstances of time and place, by the '* Rab- 
bouni," and by the repeated cry, " Son of David." It seems 
strange, however, that the Jew should be typified by a beggar, 
sitting by the wayside. More likely, the Gentile proselyte 
to Judaism was in the writer's mind. He was, indeed, a 
beggar, sitting by the road that led to the true worship, to 
Jerusalem, on the outskirts, at the gateway of the Holy Land. 
Strabo (16, 2) speaks of the Egyptian-Arabic-Phenician amal- 
gamation in Jericho. Herewith the only plausible inter- 
pretation of the name, as " Son of the Unclean " (Bar-timai), 
corresponds perfectly ; but against such exposition the fact 
seems to weigh that "blind" and "unclean," though each 
highly appropriate to the Gentile, are nevertheless not germane 
and do not naturally combine. Putting aside the notion of 
certain lexicographers, upheld by Hitzig and adopted by 
Keim, that timai—samia — hXxwdi^ like the Arabic 'aviiya^ we 
have left only the supposition that Timaios is Greek, meaning 
highly prized — a name peculiarly fit for Israel. The Syriac 
text reads Timai Bar Timai^ and we may justly suspect some 
text corruption. An Aramaic-Greek hybrid, Bar-timaios, is 
much more improbable as an historic than as an allegoric 
name. Origen seems to have felt that Timaios must be 
Greek, not Semitic, for he calls Bartimasus " the eponym of 
honour." Wellhausen, though inclined to regard the name 
as "a patronym," nevertheless subjoins : "Timai may be an 
abbreviation of Timotheus, as Tholmai of Ptolemaeus." In 

^ Precisely as, with a similar side-g-lance at Jewry, he presents tivo demoniacs 
on the coast of the Gadarenes — unwilling to admit the God of the Jews as 
quite the true God? 


that case it would be pure Greek, and mean honouring God, 
clearly designating Israel. When Wellhausen adds that 
^^ save has here the simple sense of make w/iole/^ a.nd that 
'^ follow is not used in the sublime religious meaning," one 
may be allowed to reserve one's judgment, or even to ask, 
" Quare, commilito?" 

Whether, then, blind Timasus Bartimaeus typifies the Jew 
or the proselyte may be left undecided, though it seems sure 
that he is the emblem of the one or the other ; but no such 
uncertainty seems to hang over the Rich One of the earlier 
verses.^ Unless we err totally in understanding the health 
of Judaea and the diseases of Galilee — and error seems most 
unlikely — we musl interpret the Rich One as the faithful 
Israel. With this the answer of the Jesus agrees perfectly : 
"The commandments thou knowest." True of the Jew, and 
of him alone. Similarly his response : " All these I have 
kept from my youth." So could speak faithful Israel alone. 
We have already seen how the love of the Jesus is Jehovah's 
love for '^Israel when a child." Now comes the famous 
answer : '' One thing thou lackest. Go, whatever thou hast, 
sell and give to the poor ; and thou shalt have treasure in 
Heaven ; and hither, follow me." We know and have dis- 
cussed the rest. Observe the article before possessions 
(to, ^{]fiaTa). Hard, impossibly hard, for "those that have 
the possessions to enter into the Kingdom of God." No 
reason for this difficulty is hinted. The disciples are amazed, 
and rightly. If the Rich (the Jew) cannot enter, who then 
can? All attempts (from the ordinary standpoint) to ration- 
alise this teaching have failed. We of to-day are quite as 
much puzzled as the disciples. Failing utterly to under- 
stand it, we reject it or misinterpret the explanation of the 
ancient copyist, " them that have relied upon (the) posses- 
sions." Yet the case is simple enough. The Rich One is 
Israel — rich in promises, privileges, prerogatives, in the 
Law, the Prophets, the Oracles, in possessions many. The 
poor are the Gentiles, the despised Lazarus. The all- 
conquering peculiarity of the Jesus-cult was its universalism. 

* It seems almost, and yet perhaps not quite, superfluous to observe that 
there can be raised here no question of chronologic or topographic order, 
since we are dealing, not with events, but with ideas. 


It admitted Jew and Gentile on equal terms into the Kingdom. 
The former was called on to renounce his high prerogatives, 
to share his divine privileges with the latter. Not unnaturally, 
he hesitated, he refused ; with lowering look he went away 
from the Jesus, deeply grieved, for his possessions were 
precious. It was in these that he placed his hope ; and the 
reviser of the text had a just insight, and by no means " spoiled 
everything," as Wellhausen thinks {Ev. Marciy p. 87), when 
he added (to verse 24) " for them that have trusted in (the) 
possessions" — a phrase plainly describing the Jews. The 
stupefaction of the disciples now appears perfectly natural : 
if the Jews could not enter the Kingdom, they for whom the 
Kingdom was primarily intended, the case seemed desperate. 
Who could enter? The answer of the Jesus expresses the 
abiding faith of the early Christians that in spite of the almost 
unanimous turning away of Israel, of his temporary " harden- 
ing," he would yet enter into the Kingdom in full triumph 
and glory. To men his salvation might seem impossible, 
but not to God, with whom all was possible, who would 
work some miracle in his behalf. The honour of the 
Almighty was pledged for the exaltation and glorification of 
his Chosen People. In precisely the same spirit has the 
" Apostle " (Romans ix-xi) poured upon this supreme paradox 
of Christianity the full flood of his rabbinical dialectic. Surely 
the antinomy presented a problem worthy of his utmost 
powers. His solution agrees precisely with that of the 
Marcan text. Apparently impossible, the salvation of the 
Jew is none the less a divinely logical necessity, "■ for the 
gifts and the calling of God are without repentance " (xi, 29). 
For a time, indeed, he may be partially hardened ; but only 
"until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." Then he, 
too, shall enter in the meridian splendour of redemption : 
"and so all Israel shall be saved," cries the Apostle (xi, 26) ; 
and, wonder-struck at the marvellous inversion of salvation, 
he bursts into the noble apostrophe : " O depth of riches and 
wisdom and knowledge of God ! How unsearchable his 
judgments and inexplorable his ways ! " The mental 
attitude of the Evangelist is exactly the same, but, of course, 
expressed in his own subtle and esoteric manner. He beholds 
the amazing inversion — Gentiles thronging into the Kingdom, 


while *' the sons of the Kingdom are cast forth into the outer 
darkness" (Matthew viii, 12); but he cannot doubt of the 
ultimate salvation even of the most recalcitrant, and he frames 
his faith in the aphorism, " But many shall be — first last and 
last first," wherein the allusion to Jew and Gentile seems too 
obvious for discussion. 

This interpretation of the famous Gospel incident seems, 
then, to be thoroughly satisfying in every detail ; moreover, 
these details are so many that it appears in the last degree 
improbable that a radically wrong interpretation should fit so 
perfectly at every point. It would be well-nigh miraculous 
if a mere historical incident, artlessly narrated, should lend 
itself in so many and all particulars unforcedly to a symbolic 
interpretation. The marks of design are too many and too 
obvious. On the other hand, to understand this account 
historically is very difficult, if not downright impossible. 
Who can believe that a Rich One would meet the stranger 
Jesus as he started towards Jerusalem, would run forward, 
fall upon his knees and worship, and ask, " What shall I do 
to inherit everlasting life?" Or that the Jesus would require 
that he should sell all his possessions and give them to the 
poor? What good could such folly accomplish? Or that 
the Jesus would pronounce it impossible for any rich man to 
enter the Kingdom save by a miracle? History has not 
verified, but has flatly and repeatedly and continually con- 
tradicted, such a dictum in every age and in every clime. 
And what worthy or adequate meaning can be given to First 
and Last, inverted into Last and First, save that of Jew and 
Gentile? Surely not that of Loisy {Les Evan. Syn,^ ii, 20). 

We must, then, regard the symbolic exposition of this 
incident as possessing a degree of probability as high as the 
nature of such matters admits ; in other words, as virtually 
certain. This result is not only important and luminous in 
itself, but its light is reflected over the whole body of the 
Gospel. It shows by a striking example how the Evangelist 
thought as he wrote, how he wished his readers to under- 
stand him. Once we have looked steadily into the depths of 
the mind of Mark, the enigma of the New Testament becomes 
an open secret. 


During the passage of this work into print, a passage made 
slow by the tedium of correcting proofs across an ocean and 
a continent, there have appeared a number of publications 
treating directly or indirectly of Ecce Deus (the original 
German edition of this book, published, with eye single to 
the interests of freedom and culture, by Herr Eugen 
Diederichs, of Jena), some of which, in order that the reader 
may be put au courant with the discussion, should be noticed 
in this volume. Here is not the place to enter into elaborate 
consideration of replies to Der vorchristliche Jesus ^ such as 
Schwen's recent " Replik an W. B. Smith " (in Hilgenfeld's 
Zeitschrift filr wissenschaftliche Theologie) ^^ sinco. the special 
matters therein set forth are in the main untouched in the 
present work. It seems proper, however, to call attention to 
The Historicity of Jesus ^ by Professor Shirley Jackson Case, 
of the University of Chicago. Elsewhere'' I review the book 
at some length, having studied it with much satisfaction. 
What concerns us here is that its author, though knowing 
Ecce Deus and citing it repeatedly, has made no attempt 
whatever to answer it, to rebut the evidence it brings forward 
against the " historicity " in question. The reader may find 
his own explanation of such an omission in a work professing 
to be a ''complete and unprejudiced statement," wherein ''no 
phase of any consequence in the history or in the present 
status of the problem is ignored." The only logical con- 
clusion would be that Professor Case regards the present 
work as of no " consequence " — an opinion that might interest 

^ However, owe. amendment is needed in Schwen's estimate of the general 
situation : " It is the question of a completely new interpretation of religious 
history in the time of the Roman Emperors, of the overthrow both of liberal 
and of conservative Christianity." Plainly Schwen means theology, or 
interpretation of " Christianity." Christianity itself, true, proper, primitive, 
and militant, suffers no violence in these volumes. 

2 In a forthcoming number of the Ope7i Court. 



by its uniqueness and by reminding one of the prediction of 
Noah's neighbours, that it would be only a passing shower. 
Meanwhile the gravity of considerations ignored by the 
Chicagoan is attested not only in numerous reviews, but 
still more in the ominous appearance of such articles as 
Macintosh's in the American Journal of Theology (191 1, 
pp. 362-372), ** Is Belief in the Historicity of Jesus Indis- 
pensable to Christian Faith ? " and of similar discussions by 
such as Bousset, Troeltsch, Hermann. In spite of all 
protestations, the meaning of such scriptures seems quite 
unmistakable. Critics are inquiring if it be '^ indispensable " 
only because they begin to suspect it may prove indefensible. 
They are preparing cautiously, not indeed to surrender — oh, 
no ! perish the thought, never for an instant could that be 
dreamed of — but merely to evacuate overnight the citadel 
hitherto deemed impregnable. How long before some forget 
in their new surroundings that imperial palace whence they 
came, and even that they were ever there i* 

The elaborate article by Meyboom in the Theologisch 
Tijdschrift breathes such a spirit of generous appreciation 
that it might very properly be commended to the reader 
without comment. It may be well, however, to observe that 
its chief complaint, that against the broad generality and 
even vagueness of certain contentions, seems to strike a 
failing that leans to virtue's side. Avowedly the book 
sketches only the outlines ; it declares explicitly that many 
details must yet wait long to be filled in. This lies in the 
nature of the case. Where strictly historic evidence is so 
scanty, where the oldest documents were hidden ''sayings," 
where the facts were so early and so studiously concealed, 
where they were systematically transmuted often beyond 
recognition in the utterly interested representations of ex 
parte reporters, it were miraculous if at first much more than 
general indications were possible. It is only the drift of the 
stars in their courses that we may hope to recognise. In a 
movement that stretched itself through nearly three centuries, 
that spread itself over well-nigh the whole circum-Mediter- 
ranean region, we must often be content with a "somewhere" 
and a "somewhen," and any present attempt at higher 
precision may be deprecated. Nor is such precision a real 


desideratum. The one important "question of the day" is 
that of the "historicity," the pure humanity, of the Jesus. 
The details though not indeed absolutely, are yet relatively, 
unimportant. Once the pure divinity, the non-humanity, 
of the Jesus clearly made out, all the other things in their 
time and their turn will be added. With the new theory of 
Christian origins it fares quite as with other new theories 
in historical and even in physical science. In grounding 
the general doctrine of descent with modification, it is only 
the very broad and vague propositions that are at first recom- 
mended : as that in some way all living organisms are 
directly derived from ancestors, and these from pre-ancestors, 
and so on in unbroken order back indefinitely. But in what 
way derived — that is another question. To say " By Natural 
Selection " was, and still is, premature. As over against the 
elder hypothesis of special creations, it is indifferent how they 
may have been derived, how the modifications may have 
been brought about, though in other regards it may be 
extremely important. 

Exactly similar is the present case of New Testament 
theory. The general outlines are already clear : there is no 
longer any good reason to maintain the liberal dogma of the 
purely human Jesus ; there is the amplest reason to fold it up 
and lay it aside for ever, to adopt the formula of Origen, 
"The God Jesus" (C Cels, vi, 66). But a score of questions 
remain yet, and may long remain, unsettled. Gradually, 
reluctantly, they will yield up their answers ; in no case will 
they shake the fundamental results now attained. Said 
Lincoln at the famous conference with Davis : " Let me write 
the first sentence, ^ The Union shall be maintained,' and you 
may write all the rest." The sense in which these subsidiary 
questions may be answered cannot disturb the movement 
of our thought on these matters, nor greatly modify the 
significance of the results now attained — for the problems 
that confront us in the religion, the worship, the church, the 
society, the civilisation of to-day. 

It is not uncommon to find in the writings of historicists 
obscure allusions to convincing arguments for the historicity, 
which, however, they yet hold in reserve. It seems a pity 
that anyone should thus hide his light under a bushel. In 


the Theologische Revue ^ in adjudging Ecce Deus^ the 
temperate Catholic Kiefl generously admits, "The book is, 
without doubt, geistvoll geschriehen "; but he holds that, 
*' however pointed the author's critique and manifoldly- 
correct {treffend)^ yet the proof of his counter-hypothesis is 
just as defective." He protests against ** shoreless alle- 
gorising," but assigns no reasons, and finds the main fault 
to lie in giving so much attention to Schmiedel's Pillars 
while "rather ignoring other proofs." This sounds strange 
in view of the detailed treatment of the arguments from 
personality, and the Pauline Witness, and some others. 
The facts in the case may be understood easily. Schmiedel 
himself has openly declared (p. 17, quoted supra^ p. 33) there 
are no other really cogent arguments than those derived 
from these same or similar passages. Besides, these 
" pillars " are tangible, palpable, whereas the supposed 
" other proofs " yet wait for distinct formulation. 

Thus Wendland would rest his case on the " Aramaic 
foundation of the Synoptics and the existence of a mission 
independent of Paul." Now, here are two arguments declared 
to be " sufficient." But how so ? Each of them stands on one 
leg only — an unsteady posture for a syllogism. To make out 
any semblance of reasoning we must supply each with a help- 
meet, a major premise. What shall it be ? Wendland gives 
no hint. The like holds of much ostensible argumentation 
for the historicity. When the major is supplied, it will be 
found to be either false or unrelated to the conclusion. Similar 
examples might be cited. It is hardly fair to expect your 
opponent to frame your premises as well as to expose your 
fallacies. When these mysterious " other proofs " ^ are 
formulated as clearly and logically as the "pillar-proofs," 
then will they receive quite as careful consideration — and, it 
may be predicted, with quite similar results. 

Such being the general reticence of the spokesmen of 
Historicism, it is gratifying to find in Case's book (p. 269) a 
summary of pro-historical arguments, more complete than is 
elsewhere found in the same compass. He says : — 

* Hereby we are reminded of the barrister who declared : " And now, Your 
Honour, if this argument be rejected as invalid, I have another that is equally 


[i] The New Testament data are perfectly clear in their testimony 
to the reality of Jesus's earthly career, [2] and they come from a time 
when the possibility that the early framers of tradition should have 
been deceived upon this point is out of the question. [3] Not only 
does Paul make the historical personality of Jesus a necessary 
preliminary to his gospel, [4] but the whole situation in which Paul 
moves shovv^s a historical background in which memory of this 
individual is central. [5] The earliest phases of Gospel tradition 
have their roots in Palestinian soil, [6] and reach back to the period 
when personal associates of Jesus were still living ; [7] while primitive 
Christology shows distinct traces of Jesus, the man of Galilee, behind 
its faith in the heavenly Christ. [8] The disciples' personal memory 
of this Jesus of real life is also the fountain from which the peculiarly 
forceful type of the new community's vitality takes its start. 

By this statement of long-desiderated ^' other proofs," 
which we have taken the liberty to separate and numerate for 
easy reference, Professor Case has made the public greatly 
his debtor. A few observations may be permitted. 

A. It seems noteworthy that the Pillars shine by their 
absence only. Professor Case would seem to regard them 
almost as lightly as Schmiedel regards all Case's " other 
evidences." This seems very remarkable, for Schmiedel is 
by no means alone in pinning his faith to the Pillars. 

B. The favourite inference from the unique, incomparable, 
and wholly uninventible personality is likewise slurred, if not, 
indeed, entirely omitted. This seems even more remarkable 
still, for this has undoubtedly hitherto been the trump argu- 
ment of many historicists. 

(i) The assertion that ''the New Testament data are 
perfectly clear, etc.," ignores both the facts in the case and 
the whole symbolic interpretation set forth in £cce Deus. If 
this interpretation be measurably correct, then these '' data " 
would seem to be *' perfectly clear in their testimony " against 
the historicity in question. Unless this interpretation be 
shown to be erroneous, this leading argument in the list 
must fall to the ground ; and what is said in (2) about the 
" framers of tradition " would appear to lose all its meaning. 

(3) The statement concerning Paul is scarcely correct ; it 
is rather the very reverse of the truth. See supra^ 146 j^., and 
Schlager's article already cited. 

(4) Professor Case would seem to be Hegelian, and to 
uphold the identity of opposites. 


(5) Like Wendland's, the argument that tradition " roots in 
Palestinian soil " tries to stand on one leg, most awkwardly. 
As a matter of fact, we have no reason to suppose this 
Christian movement originated in Palestine or in any other 
one place. The pictorial representation in the Gospels is 
staged as in Palestine, and for the reason stated in Matthew 
iv, 15, 16 — to fulfil the prophecy about the dawn of a great 
light on ** Galilee of the Gentiles." Nearly all the topical 
references of the Gospels are derivable directly or indirectly 
from this motifs and it is noteworthy how much of the 
evangelic picture remains in the air without a local habita- 
tion, and sometimes without a name. The Judasan ministry 
is an afterthought — not present in the Logoi-source (Q), as 
Harnack now concedes — and is a highly elaborate reflection 
from the mirror of prophecy, sacred and profane. 

(6) '* When personal associates of Jesus were still living " 
assumes everything in dispute, as indeed is elsewhere done in 
Professor Case's book. 

(7) Herein may lie a modest allusion to the Pillars ; in 
any case, their downfall carries Case's assertion along 
with it. 

(8) The closing sentence about " personal memory " may 
be a rather grudging concession to the old personality 
argument, and is quite too vague to form any basis of 
discussion. That the absence of any such " personal memory" 
is a distinctive mark of the early preaching has been clearly 
set forth in this volume. It is enough for the reader to 
remember that Paul's was the most " peculiarly forceful type," 
that he "laboured more abundantly than they all," and that 
he admittedly had no such '* personal memory." Nor will 
the reader fail to note the vagueness that marks all the con- 
siderations advanced in the passage quoted. 

In view of all the foregoing, it seems doubtful whether 
historicists in general will thank the Chicagoan for his state- 
ment of the case. 

A single observation touching the favourite mode of 
refutation in vogue with historicists, the argument by silence. 
It is, perhaps, not strange that it has suggested to able 
German reviewers a counter-conclusion /ro;w silence. Fullest 
hearts may indeed be slow to speak, but not always fullest 


heads. The man who had not a wedding garment on seems 
to have maintained a most dignified and impressive silence ; 
nevertheless . 

Having already made ample answer (in Auseinander- 
setzung mil Weinel and in the Preface to the second edition 
of Der vorchristliche Jesus) to the full blast of German 
bugles, one feels under little obligation to reply to '' the 
horns of elfland, faintly blowing " in Bacon's contribution to 
the Hibbert Journal QuXy J 191 1)* They may, however, serve 
one useful purpose — to point a needed remark upon the type 
of reasoning to be employed in such discussions. It would 
seem that even a babe in logic might grasp the distinction 
between a chain and a warp, between a serial and a parallel 
arrangement of proofs. In mathematics the first order 
prevails ; the conclusion hangs by a single thread. If this 
break, it falls to the ground. Enough to expose a single 
error in the sorites ; the whole deduction is thereby invali- 
dated — the chain is no stronger than its weakest link. Far 
otherwise in history, in life, where it is the second order that 
holds. The evidences are arranged side by side, like threads 
in a loom. It is their combined strength that supports the 
conclusion. The warp is far stronger than even its strongest 
strand. We speak of the evidence as ** cumulative," of the 
"consilience of results," of the convergence of indications. 
Manifestly, to refute such argumentation it were not nearly 
enough to detect weak threads in the warp and grave uncer- 
tainty in various indicia. Nay, it must be shown that none 
of the filaments hold, that they all snap both severally and 
collectively, that all the concurrent indications both singly 
and together mislead. 

The just critic of this book or of its predecessor not only 
will but must appraise it where it is most, and not merely 
where it is least, strong. Even if the evidence were incon- 
clusive at a dozen points, it might still be conclusive at some 
others, and that would be enough ; yea, it might be indecisive 
at every point considered singly, and yet decisive (with very 
high probability) when all were considered together. It is 
the whole body of facts and arguments adduced that must 
finally sway the mind. When, therefore, critics rest content 
with essaying to show some want of stringency in the proofs 


here and there, but make no attempt to invalidate the whole 
mutually independent but mutually corroborative array of 
indications/ they would appear to betray a peculiar conception 
of the nature of evidence, and to suggest the query whether 
Hilbert's, Peano's, and Russell's be the only New Logics. 

The foregoing is certainly an old story ; and yet it must 
be kept ever new, for it is persistently forgotten, e.g, even by 
Windisch {Theol. Rundschau, 1912, pp. 114^.), who, while 
discreetly generous in judging Ecce Deus^ yet finds it 
** fragmentary, and therefore unsatisfying," "a series of 
unconnected essays," and urgently calls for " no more 
fragmentary sketches, but connected, rounded-off presenta- 
tions." All this, on which Windisch lays such especial 
stress, seems indeed only half-bad. It might be worse. 
Some books are very smoothly "rounded-off," and yet do 
not satisfy. All books, in fact, have the defects of their 
qualities ; and this lack of artistic unity has been openly 
declared by the author. The reader must see that " a com- 
pletely new orientation " (Schwen) cannot be presented in the 
** rounded-off " form desired. If the author should wait until 
such a " presentation " became possible, his friends the enemy 
would exultingly insist on passing to the order of the day. 
New evidence is offering itself daily, new aspects are 
disclosing themselves constantly, new perspectives opening 
up on every hand. Doubtless many years must elapse before 
the readjustment and realignment can be complete.^ 

Meantime the evidences, though avowedly " fragmentary," 
are not "therefore unsatisfying." The evidence for scientific 
doctrines does often satisfy in spite of being very fragmentary, 
for it attests with a sufficiently high degree of probability. In 
fact, it is well known that our knowledge is patchwork. But 
when Windisch speaks of "unconnected essays" he goes 

* Herewith it is far from hinted that even in minute details such critics 
have prevailed thus far at any sing-le point of attack. On the contrary, their 
signal and universal failure seems to be variously admitted in their own ranks, 
as already indicated at several points in this volume ; nay more, to judge by 
the temper displayed too often, it must be an open secret to these critics 
themselves ; for it is a sound ethical maxim in law, and surely much more so 
in theology, to revile only the opponent whom you cannot refute. 

^ If Windisch thinks the publication of such essays premature, then he is 
at variance with Pfleiderer and with other such masters, at whose urgence it 
was begun. 


far astray. As well describe the meridians of longitude as 
"unconnected" — they hang together tightly at the poles. 
So the numerous lines of proof in this book are, indeed, 
independent — herein lies their logical worth : an error in 
one does not involve an error in any other — they must all be 
refuted simultaneously, for even if all failed but one, and that 
did not fail, the 07ie conclusion would still be reached and 
established ; but they are not unconnected, for they all 
converge upon the same conclusion, which holds them all 
together in unity. The complaint of Windisch lies, then, 
against an esthetic fault — the condition of a logical merit. 
However, as the days glide by, the independent arguments 
will become each for itself a more " rounded-oif " whole, and 
some subsequent volume may appeal more powerfully to 
Windisch's artistic sense. Meanwhile, this mutual indepen- 
dence by no means absolves opponents from the obligation of 
answer ; on the contrary, it piles up such obligation higher. 

A reviewer must be allowed to decide ex cathedra and 
without argument. Sometimes, however, Windisch does 
assign reasons, as when he is horrified at the statement that 
Hebrews does not make the faintest allusion to the Gospel 
delineation, and cites Hebrews v, 7, in refutation. The 
passage was in the mind of the author, as appears from the 
language used (p. 92), but it does not contain the allusion 
imagined. Of course, most commentators refer it to Geth- 
semane ; but even the conservative Kostlin, who was certainly 
guiltless of any foreboding of recent criticism, could find no 
such reference. The representation does certainly agree in 
some measure with the Gospel account — an account, by the 
way, that would do grave dishonour to any courageous Tuan^ 
who would certainly not " for his godly fear of death " " pray 
and plead with tears and mighty cry for deliverance from 
death," which millions of ordinary mortals have met without 
a blush. The passage is an attempt, perhaps not quite happy 
according to our standards, to poetise, or rather to pathetise 
(most naturally^), the self-sacrifice of the great High Priest, 
the Dying God, a many-coloured thread that ran all through 
the web of ancient consciousness. There is no evidence at all 

^ See p. 296 supra. 


that it is based on Luke or on any other Gospel. In fact, 
the indications point the other way. It would be far more 
likely for the Gospels to dramatise the verse in Hebrews, 
or still more probably its original. It is needless to elaborate, 
nor do we raise here any critical question about these four 
verses (7-10), though such a one as Windisch must perceive 
that a serious question may be raised ; but it seems strange 
that anyone can read the whole of this Epistle at a single 
sitting without being struck by its wide remove from the 
modern liberal, and even from the ancient evangelic, 

The surprise of Windisch that so little note is made of 
Justin Martyr's witness to the Gospel story is scarcely 
warranted ; for the explanation lay before him in Ecce Deus, 
The witness need not be denied ; it is merely worthless, being 
vitiated by the Martyr's bizarre conception of (Gospel) history 
as a fulfilment and reflection of Old Testament prophecy and 
scripture. Such a theorist would not hesitate to declare that 
so-and-so had happened, and had been recorded in Memoirs 
of the Apostles^ if only he thought he had found its type 
in the Old Testament. Does not even Chrysostom teach 
explicitly that prophecy must over-ride even the historic facts 
themselves? And did not Tertullian write: ''And buried, 
he rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible"?^ 
The modern critical mind is no measuring rod for the early 

Windisch thinks that to "propagate monotheism in the 
form of a Jesus-cult is to cast out the devil through 
Beelzebub." Exactly so the Scribes and Pharisees seem to 
have thought (Mark iii, 22), but not so the proto-Christians. 
He imagines a contradiction between the worship of the 
pre-Christian Jesus and the doctrine that proto-Christianity 
was an aggressive monotheism. But wherein does it lie? 
He neglects to state. Meanwhile, does not even Deissmann 
delight in the phrase, "the monotheistic cult of Jesus"? 
Windisch's sense of contrast might appear to be patho- 
logically acute. 

* " Et sepultus resurrexit ; certum est, quia impossibile est " (De Came 
Christi, v). 


The argument from "The Didactic Element" he con- 
denses thus: "Jesus said something else than Cicero and 
Aristotle, etc.; therefore Jesus is no historic personality." 
This summary, he admits, is "grob gesagt"; verily! so 
inept, indeed, that one suspects there may be some misprint, 
some mistake not of Windisch, but of the devil. The real 
argument is that the " Sayings " bear no witness to a unique, 
definable, and uninventible personality, because even the 
most distinctive are not original, but are adaptations of the 
winged words of ancient wisdom ; since one might naturally 
look for some individual impress on the real sayings of a 
marvellous human teacher, its absence bears witness against 
the historicity in question. This reasoning is not hard to 
understand ; why does Windisch prefer to caricature rather 
than to answer it? 

Another pupil of Schmiedel's has come bravely to the 
rescue of the Pillars, which, it is admitted, " are powerfully 
assailed," by adding, like Neumann, to their number (Meltzer, 
" Zum Ausbau von Schmiedels Grundsaulen " — Prot 
Monatsh.^ 191 ij H.12, 461-476). His additions outnumber 
the first array, being about a dozen ; and some of them, 
which had long ago occurred to the present writer, deserve 
notice, though neither singly nor collectively can they sustain 
the burden laid upon them. Windisch admits that Meltzer's 
collection "must be sifted," nor will the very finest sieve 
retain aught worth saying. Still this second vintage of 
Zurich, only in less degree than the first (for " the old is 
better "), calls for attention, as being of all " so-called " 
evidences the least intangible. At the start, however, it is 
keenly interesting to note that Windisch himself now 
surrenders five of the original nine passages (Mark xiii, 32 ; 
XV, 34 ; Matthew xi, 5 ; xii, 32 ; xvi, 5-12) as "not convinc- 
ing"; only Mark iii, 21 ; x, 18; viii, 12; vi, 5, would he 
still "let count." When such a pillar as the cry on the 
cross (Mark xv, 34) is abandoned reluctantly as " not able 
to bear " {nicht tragf'dhig)^ one's interest and confidence in 
pillars is " nigh unto vanishing away." 

Meltzer's second row of columns stands thus : — Mark x, 
40=: Matthew xx, 23 ; Mark xiv, 33= Matthew xxvi, 37 ; 
Matthew xvi, 28; xxiv, 30, 34; xi, 20-24=Luke x, 12-18; 



Matthew XV, 22-28 ; xi, 19 ; Mark iii, 22 ; ii, 7 ; xii, 35-37 ; v, 
39 ; Matthew v, 9, 45 ; Mark viii, 33 ; Luke ix, 54 ff. Add 
the betrayal of Judas, denial of Peter, stupidity of disciples, 
depreciation of disciples, flight of disciples. Our first obser- 
vation is that only half are found in Mark. Now, of the 
original nine, the four that still maintain themselves (even in 
the judgment of Windisch) are all in Mark ; all not in Mark 
are now rejected. It is doubly unlikely, then, that any of 
this new colonnade not found in Mark will support themselves 
even in the minds of liberal critics. 

These six that are in Mark, since it is not possible to 
examine all minutely now and here, we may judge not by the 
foot, but by the head, for the chief is this : Of the seats at 
right and at left hand in the kingdom Jesus says : " This is 
not mine to give, but for others it is made ready " (Mark x, 
40, Burkitt's translation). On its face the whole story seems 
to be a comparatively late invention, with what motive it is 
not easy to say — possibly as a setting for the great saying 
about humility (Mark x, 43-45) ? We have no reason to 
believe that even the obscure Sinaitic form — given above — is 
the original, nor can anyone say what the original was ; 
considerable change took place even in passing to Matthew. 
But, even as it now stands, it is far from clear that a 
worshipper of "the god Jesus" might not have written it. 
For such a one might, and did, distinguish his Saviour-God 
from the God Most High, as is done in Hebrews and else- 
where. Thus the Apostle explicitly affirms that the Son 
must reign as God for a certain time, and then become himself 
subject to the Father (i Corinthians xv, 24-28). It is idle 
to ask. How can these things be? Few or none of us can 
understand them ; but how many can understand the higher 
spaces or the relativity of space and time? It is enough 
that the worshippers of " the God Jesus " did actually preach 
and teach a host of such un-unified and semi-contradictory 
doctrines "■ concerning the Jesus." Such inconsistencies 
have, indeed, infected theology in all ages, the present not 
excepted. Homer did not hesitate to represent even the 
Father of the gods as yielding to Fate, and bound by oath 
*'not to be loosed by any god." Says the oracle {Herod. ^ i, 
91) : " The foredoomed Fate it is impossible to escape, even 


for a god." Compare also Hebrews vi, 17, 18. It seems 
strange that Meltzer should lean on such a pillar. How easy 
it was for the ancient, even the Judaic, mind to distinguish 
between God very high and God Most High, is clearly seen 
in the strange doctrine of Metatron so conspicuous in 
Hebrew writings, who is purely divine, who discharges the 
divinest functions, who even bears the ineffable name of God, 
and yet must not be worshipped being not quite God 

Surely nothing more need be said about the "■ Betrayal," 
and the reader may safely be left with the other mentioned 
misdoings of the disciples. Even if unable to comprehend a 
certain incident fully, we should be irrational to adopt the 
hypothesis of Meltzer ; on this point Windisch is in at least 
partial accord with the present writer, of whom he says (in 
reviewing Ecce Deus) ; " With acumen he shows, first of all, 
that Schmiedel in his propositions proves the impossible ; 
what is for us a contradiction need by no means have been 
felt as such by the Evangelists." Only on the Denial need 
we pause to say that it seems to be one of the most pro- 
foundly significant stories in the Gospels ; it must be taken 
and understood as part and parcel of the whole picture of 
Simon Peter, both canonical and extra-canonical, especially 
in relation to Simon Magus, of whom he appears to be an 
orthodox transfiguration. This difficult matter requires 
special treatment not possible in this connection. But to 
accept the episode as simple history, without suspecting any 
deeper meaning, and to find therein a proof invincible of 
historicity, is to push naivete to the wall. 

Only one other of these new nurselings need we mention, 
which Windisch also recognises as most " important of all " 
— the reproach of being "gluttonous and a winebibber " 
(Matthew xi, 19) ; the other passages (Mark iii, 22 ; ii, 7) 
surely call for no notice. It has long seemed to the present 
writer that the Matthean verse (cf. Luke vii, 34) is by far the 
most plausible that the historicists can produce ; for surely 
gluttony and winebibbing are not divine, but human — all too 
human. Observe, however, that the passage is not in Mark, 

^ See my article in the Open Court of July, 1912. 


and that it is transparently merely ascribed to Jesus. More- 
over — and here is the core of the matter — it is a late reflec- 
tion of the Christian community, how late none can say. At 
this point we are glad to be able to prop ourselves on the 
penetrating study of Dibelius {Die urchristliche Ueherlieferung 
uber Johannes den Tdufer, 191 1)? who recognises these verses 
(xi, 18, 19) as "the interpretation by the congregation of a 
parable of Jesus." Enough that they are not historical, nor 
primitive, nor refer to anything historical in the naive sense. 
The concluding statement, that " Wisdom was justified of her 
works (her children all)," indicates that we are here in a 
difficult region of Gnostic thought, and far away from the 
pleasant paths of history. 

At length we come to the latest publication of the 
honoured Professor Rudolf Steck, on '* The Genuine Witness 
of Josephus to Christ" {Prot. Monatsh.^ 191 2, i-ii). Written 
in the author's clear, scholarly, excellent style, it is mainly 
devoted to stating and re-arguing the criticism of Credner on 
the passage in the Antiquities (xx, 9, i) concerning "James, 
the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ." It is not necessary 
to rekindle the discussion. Since even Zahn now recognises 
the passage as interpolated (Forschungen z, G. d. nt. K.^ vi, 
305), the matter may be allowed to rest. But Steck, while 
unwilling to admit the interpolation, perceives that such a 
single mention of Jesus without any explanation is intolerably 
lonesome and highly improbable (p. 8). Hence he very justly 
finds himself constrained to consult once more the far more 
famous interpolation {Ant., xviii, 3, 3), and, if possible, 
extract from it some information. All other hypotheses 
failing, he falls back on that of the Dutch critic Mensinga 
{Theol, Tijdschrift, 1883, 145-152), who, rightly feeling how 
hard it is to believe that Josephus could have kept silence 
concerning the man Jesus, found himself conducted to the 
hypothesis that Josephus had said something — namely, not 
only that the Christians believe in the divine nature and 
origin of Jesus, but that the idea originated in a certain 
material incident not very creditable to the new faith (hence 
expunged by Christians and supplanted by the extant 
section 3 !). Then would follow the Paulina incident in 
Rome as a parallel. It seems hardly necessary to discuss 


this notion of the Hollander. Steck himself states it as a 
bare hypothesis, upon which he shrinks from laying stress. 
In fact, it wrecks on one patent fact — that the slaughter of 
the Jews (described in § 2) is followed in § 4 by the statement 
that "■ at the same time a second te rrible thing confounded the 
Jews." Now, this second (erepov) is intelligible only if § 4 
follows upon § 2, for 'ivEpog (as Steck correctly observes) is 
''the other of two." But Steck avers that ^eivov (terrible) 
cannot refer to the slaughter in § 2, but must refer '' properly 
to something mighty, strange, extraordinary " — as he with 
Mensinga thinks, to some scandal about Joseph and Mary ! 
This is a mere question of fact, and, with all due deference to 
the Bernese Professor, we must insist that the primary and 
regular meaning of §£tvoc is dire^ dread^ frightful^ terrible^ 
being from Seoc, alarm^ affright , pale fear, terror. Says 
Homer of the archer-god: "Terrible arose the clangour of 
his silver bow."^ Such must be the meaning here, for only 
something terrible (and not a piece of scandalous gossip 
about two peasants) would have " con founded {Idopv^u) the 
Jews." The hypothesis of Mensinga has really appealed to 
no one, and is simply a last resort of Steck's to save the 
passage about the "brother," which he sees must be saved if 
the historicity is to be plausibly defended. The article of this 
distinguished critic is valuable as setting forth in clear relief 
the exigencies of the liberal situation. 

Let us, then, sum up the matter. In spite of the frequent 
references to " his brethren " in the Gospels (and Acts i, 14), 
no serious argument for the historicity is based thereon, save 
the Schmiedelian pillar-proof already sufficiently treated. 
There remain only the two Pauline passages. In the first 
of these (i Cor. ix, 5) the phraseology, "The other Apostles 
and the brethren of the Lord and Kephas," combined with 
the party-cries given in i Cor. i, 12, "I am of Paul, I of 
Apollos, I of Kephas, I of Christ," very strongly suggests, 
wholly apart from all questions of "historicity," that we here 
have to deal with a class of the new religionists, that " the 
brethren of the Lord " are either identical or in line with 
those who said, " I am of Christ." While it may not be 

^ "And there was heard a dread clang-ing of the silver bow." — Walter Leaf. 


possible to demonstrate this strictly, it seems a thoroughly 
satisfactory view of the matter, in every way probable, and 
impossible to disprove. In the second passage (Gal. i, 19) 
the phrase is, ** James the brother of the Lord." Now, if 
what has just been said be correct, there is nothing here to 
give us any pause. James was simply one of a circle, 
perhaps very select and interior, who for their fervour and 
strict devotion were known as "brethren of the Lord," or 
perhaps "of Christ." Herewith everything seems adequately 
explained in entire accord with the Gospel use of the phrase 
"my brethren." Moreover, we must note that the words, 
" brother of the Lord," sound very strange as designating 
at that early day a flesh-and-blood brother of a man Jesus. 
" The Lord " was the very highest name for the enthroned 
world-ruling Saviour-God ; it denoted specifically the Jehovah 
of the Old Testament. It seems extremely unlikely that in 
any case such a kinsman should be called " brother of the 
Lord." Surely it would have been just as easy and far more 
natural to call him "brother of Jesus." The fact that he is 
never thus called seems to point directly to the spiritual and 
directly away from the carnal sense of brotherhood. Strongly 
confirmatory is the further fact that in the much later inter- 
polation in Josephus we no longer read the " brother of the 
Lord," but "the brother of Jesus, him called the Christ." 
This interpolator of " the falsified Josephus " (Zahn) 
undoubtedly meant fleshly brotherhood, and accordingly he 
says, as he should say, "brother of Jesus"; so, too, would 
the Apostle have written had he meant the same thing. 

It seems, then, that the New Testament contains no clear 
token of any such carnal kinship, and yet, if any such really 
existed, it seems strange that no trace of it should be detected ; 
strange that neither father, nor mother, nor brother, nor 
sister, nor any other kinsman of such a man Jesus should 
ever be heard of in authentic or probable historical connection. 
Wonderfully apt are the words of Hebrews (vii, 3) : " Without 
father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither 
beginning of days nor end of life." Such is the Jesus of 
primitive Christianity. 

It has hardly seemed worth while to notice the vigorous 
contention of Berendts Die Zeugnisse vom Christentum im 


slavischen "De Bello Judaico" des Josephus, 1906; also 
Analecta zurti slav. Josephus, in Preuschen's Zeitschrift^ 
1908 ; pp. 47-70), that Josephus inserted in the first edition 
of his *' Jewish War " an elaborate notice of " Christ and the 
Christians," which he afterwards expunged as "■ the course of 
the spiritual development of his people led away from 
Christianity " (p. 75), since even the most sympathetic critics 
(as Schiirer, Theol. Liter aturzeitung^ 1906, 262^.; and Case, 
p. 260) clearly perceive and declare that his zeal and erudition 
have miscarried. 

What then, finally, is the witness of Josephus? The 
famous § 3 is certainly a Christian interpolation. All efforts, 
even the most ingenious, to find therein any traces of an 
original (now Christianised) testimony have conspicuously 
failed; and they will continue to fail, for the opening words 
of § 4, a '* second terrible thing," point clearly and 
unambiguously back to the first "terrible thing," the 
slaughter described in § 2. Hereby these sections are shut 
down upon each other, and any intervening third section is 

But when this section is surrendered, so is the other 
phrase in question, " brother of Jesus," etc., for other reasons 
and because Josephus would hardly have introduced such an 
isolated notice. So, then, it appears that this Jewish historian 
of that time and country makes no mention of Jesus — a fact 
inexplicable even to Historiker themselves on their own hypo- 
thesis. Hence their strenuous defence of the indefensible. 
We thank Professor Steck for his able and honest article. 
It seems that each renewed investigation confirms more and 
more securely the conception herein set forth of the Origins 
of Christianity. 



Genesis : 

Psalms : 

xxxv, 15 ... 


i. 1.2 157 


xxii, I 

... 201 

xlviii, 24, 41 



xhx, 15 


xxii, 17 
xxiv, 3, 4 ... 

... 142 
... 128 


xxxvii, 2 

... 128 

iii, I 



Leviticus : 

xli, 9 

... 317 

ix, 2,3, II ... 



xvii, II, 14 


xli, 10 

... 316 

X, 2,6,7 ... 



li, 16-19 

... 280 

xiv, 6 



Deuteronomy : 

xcvi, 5 

•.• 54 




vi, 4 


cix, 28 

... 128 

XXX, 12 


xii, 23 


cxxvi, 5, 6 ... 

... 128 

xxxiii, II, 25 



xxix, 16-18 


cxxxix, 19-24 

... 280 

Daniel : 

cxiv, II, 13 ... 

... 270 

i, 1,20 



Joshua : 

ii, I 


XV, 25 


Proverbs : 

ii, 18 



Judges : 

viii, I 

viii, I2_^ ... 

... 166 



IV, 3 



vi, II 295, 

n. 2 

Isaiah : 

iv, 23 

vii, 13, 14, 18, 




2 Samuel: 


... 280 


ix, 4 


1,4,5,17,21,29... 281 

viii, X, xi ... 


xvii, 27 


ii, 9, 18, 20, 22 

... 281 




V, 1-7 

122 n. 

xii, 6,7 



I Kings : 

V, 24 

... 281 

xvii, 8-24 


X, 10, II 

... 281 

Hosea : 

xxii, II 



i, II 



xix, 41 

... 309 

viii, I 



2 Kings : 

xxxi, 6 

... 278 

ix, 3-6, 15 ... 



xvii, 12, 13 


XXXV, 5/. ... 

... 203 

xi, I 


, 313 

xvii, 24-33 


xliv, 6 

xiv, 1-4 



xvii, 24-41 


xliv, 22 

Hi, 13-liii, 12 

... 278 
... 65 


2 Chronicles: 


... 128 

ii, 12, 13 





Ivii, 17 

99. 312 

ii, 32 



XXX, 6 


Ixi, I 

... 203 . 

xxxvi, 23 


Ixi, 2 

... 128 

A mos : 

Ixiii, 2 

... 29s 

ii, 2 



Ezra : 

ii, 16 



i. 2 


Jeremiah : 

v, 21-24, 26, 27 



iv, 5 



iii, 12, 14, 22 

... 107 

... 278 

vi, 13 



Nehemiah : 

xviii, II, 15... 

... 278 

Jonah : 



XXV, 5, 6 

... 278 






xxxi, 24 

... 128 







Micah : 

Zechariah : 


... 281 


... 278 

iii, 5 

... 281 

ix, 12 

... 278 


... 281 

xi, 12 

... 306 

Vj 13/ 

... 281 

VI, 16 

... 281 

Malachi : 
Iii, 7 

I Maccabees : 
V, 19 

.. 278 
.. 125 


16 ... 

ii, 23. 



III, 3 
iii, 7, 12 
iii, 8, II 
iii, 9 ... 

jv, 15/ 

IV, 17 ... 
iv, 18 ... 
iv, 19 ... 

v, 25 ... 
v, 28 ... 

v,45 .- 
vi, 7 

vi, 10 ... 
vii, 2 ... 
vii, 12 ... 
vii, 13, 14 
vii, 16-21 
vii, 19 ... 
vii, 22 ... 
vii, 24-27 
vii, 29 ... 
viii, II, 12 
viii, 12 ... 
viii, 31... 
ix,9 ... 
ix,30 ... 
ix,34 ... 

IX, 36 ... 

X, I 

X,2 ... 


x,7 ... 
X, 14, 15 

X, 21 ... 

X, 26, 27 

X, 27 ... 

X, 34» 35 
X, 42 ... 
xi, 5 ... 

.- 235,294 


299, 300 









... 129 


- 235 



























... 235 











,5 ... 

, 12 ... 

,17 ... 
,19 ... 
, 20-24 
, 20-24 

, 25-30 
, 27-29 
i, 15 ... 
i, 24, 27 
h 27, 32 

i,28 ... 

1,30 ... 

i,3i ... 

1,32 ... 

i. 39 ••. 
, 46-50 
i, II ... 

ii, 41 ... 



ii, 52... 

ii, 55 ... 


V, 17-21 
XV, 22-28 
XV, 32-38 
xvi, 4 ... 
xvi, 5-12 
xvi, 5-12 
xvi, 28 ... 
xvi, 28 ... 
xvii, 18... 
xviii, 1-6 
xviii, 6 f. 
xviii, 10 
xviii, 14 
xviii, 15 
xviii, 17 
xviii, 21 yi 
xviii, 27 
xix, 13-15 
xix, 16 7^. 

... 337 
... 114 
... 43 
... 130 
... 340 
... 144 

••• 337 
xviii, 118 

... 165 

38, 322 

... 213 


... 268 

... 125 
... 180 

... 337 
... 202 
... 236 

... 34 
... 272 
... 268 

29, 275 
... 36 
... 235 
... 201 
... 123 

... 338 

... 123 

... 202 

... 204 

... 337 
... 268 

... 337 

... 211 
... 118 
113, 118 
... 118 
... 284 
... 144 
... 284 

... 97 
... 117 
... 322 

xix, 16-26 . 
xix, 17 ... 
xix, 24 ... . 
XX, 19 ... . 
XX, 23 ... . 
xxi, 3 ... . 
xxi, 5, 7 
xxi, II ... . 
xxi, 17-22 . 
xxi, 25 ... . 
xxi, 31, 43 
xxiii ... . 
xxiii, II, 12 . 
xxiii, 33 
xxiii, 34 
xxiv, 7... . 
xxiv, 30, 34 . 
xxiv, 36 
XXV, 40... . 
xxvi, 3 ... . 
xxvi, 6-13 . 
xxvi, 14 
xxvi, 26-29. 
xxvi, 29 
xxvi, 36 
xxvi, 37 
xxvi, 69 
xxvli, 3-10 , 
xxvii, 9, 10 , 
xxvii, 16 
xxvii, 17,22. 
xxvii, 33 
xxvii, 46 
xxviii, 6 
xxviii, 10 
xxviii, 19 

Mark : 
i, I 

i, 1-3 ... 

1,4 ... , 


i, 13 ... 

i, IS ... 
i, 17 ... 
i, 22 

... 313 
126, 195 

... 312 
••• 337 
... 136 
... 15s 
... 315 
... 114 
... 269 

... 144 




1,24 ... 


X, 18, 40 


viii, 28 

... 196 

1, 27 ... 


X, 22 ... 


ix, 10 

... 293 

1,41 .- 




ix, 12-17 

... 123 

i,43 ... 


X, 33 ... 




11,7 ... 


X, 43-45 


ix, 54# ... 

... 338 

ii, 19, 20, 22 121 1 

x,47 ... 


X, I 

... 136 

11,27 - 


xi, 3 ... 


X, II 

... 268 

111, 14, 15 


XI, 12-14 


x, 12-18 

... 337 

iii, 19 ... 


xi, 20/ 


X, 13 

... 283 

Hi, 21 ... 

... 180, 190 

xii, 28-34 


X, 17-20 ... 

... 57 

iii, 21 ... 


xii, 29-30 



... 97 

iii, 22 ... 


xii, 35-37 


X, 38-40 ... 

... 106 

iii, 22 ... 


xii, 36 ... 


X, 38-42 ... 

104, 136 

iii, 28 ... 


xiii, 8 ... 


XI, 15 

... 213 

iii, 29 ... 


xiii, II ... 


xi, 19 

192, 213 

iii, 31-33 


xiii, 12/ 

... ... 130 

xi, 20 

... 268 

i"» 31-35 


xiii, 32 ... 

... 180, 197 

xi, 23 

... 125 

iv, II ... 

... ^33,272 

xiii, 32 ... 


xi, 29 

... 202 

iv, II, 12, 

34, 36/, 40, 60 

xiv, 2-9 


xi, 32 

... 283 

iv, 21 /. 

34 #• 

xiv, 5 ... 



... 136 

iv, 21-23 


xiv, 10 ... 


XI, 49 

... 166 

iv, 24-34 

... 35/ 

xiv, 22-25 


xii, I 

... 204 

iv, 26-32 


xiv, 32 ... 


xii, 3 

.•• 255 

iv, 28 ... 


xiv, 33 ... 


xii, 10 



33/, 37, 40, 

xiv, 43 ... 


xii, 42 

... 136 

60, 130 

XIV, 51/ 


xii, 58 

... 125 

iv, 36 ... 


XV, 7 ... 


xiii, 3, 5 

... 284 

V, 1-13 


XV, 34 ... 

... 180, 197 

xiii, 6, 7 

... 115 

v, 1-20... 


XV, 34 ... 


xiii, 15 

... 136 

v,39 ... 


xvi, 5 ... 


xiii, 32 

... 211 

VI, 5 ... 


xvi,9, 12, 14 ... 154 

XV, 7 

... 286 



xvi, 15 ... 


XV, 7, 10 ... 

... 284 


XV, 20 

... 97 

vi,34 ... 



xvi, 1-9 

... 144 

vi, 34-44 


i,77 ... 


xvi, 19-31 ...28, 72, 102 

vii, 28 ... 


11, II, 26 


xvi, 20 

... 103 

viii, 1-9 


ii, 52 ... 


xvi, 23-25 ... 

... 103 

viii, 2 ... 


iii, 3 ... 


xvi, 30 

... 284 

viii, 12 ... 

... 180, 202 

iii, 8 ... 

... 73,286 

xvii, I, 2, 3, 4 

... 284 

viii, 12 ... 


iv,43 ... 


xvii, 2 ... ... 

... 118 

viii, 14-21 

... 180, 204 

v, 4-10... 


xvii, 5, 6 

... 136 

viii, 33 ... 


V, 26 ... 


xvii, 11-19 ... 

... 103 

ix, 22 ... 


V, 27 ... 


xvii, 20/ ... 

... 272 

ix, 23 ... 


V, 32 ... 


xviii, 1-6 

... 144 

ix, 38 ... 


vi, 16 ... 

304, 306/ 

xviii, 6 

... 136 

ix, 38-40 


vi, 43-49 


xviii, 15-17... 

... 117 

ix, 40 ... 


vii, II ... 


xviii, 18 

... 322 

ix, 42 ... 


vii, 13, 19 

... . 136 

xviii, 19 

126, 195 

ix, 47 ... 


vii, 22 ... 

... 180, 202 

xviii, 32 

... 312 

X, I 


vii, 23 ... 


xix, 4 

... 285 

x, 13-16 


vii, 24-28 


xix, 8 

... 136 



vii, 32 ... 


xix, 31, 34 ... 

... 136 

x, 17/ ... 

180, 194, 322 

vii, 34 ... 


xix, 40 

... 73 

X, 17-31 


vii, 36-50 


xxi, 10 

... 318 

X, 18 ... 


viii, 10 ... 


xxii, I 

235, 294 

X, 17, 21, 

22 98/ 

viii, 13 ... 


xxii, 3 

... 304 



xxn, 17-20 ... 

xxii, 44 

xxii, 47 

xxii, 55/ ... 

xxii, 61 

xxiii, 34 

xxiv, 3 

xxiv, 19 
xxiv, 34 
xxiv, 47 

John : 


IV, 18 

iv, 25 

V, 2 

V, 2-9 


vi, 71 

vii, 20 


viii, 12 

viii, 32/. 
viii, 39^ ... 
viii, 48/. 

viii, 52 

ix, II 

ix, 31 

X, 20/. 

xi, 16 

xi,33.38 ... 

XI, 46, 53 -. 

XI, 54 

xii, 2 

xii, 4 

xii, 31 

xiii, I 

xiii, 2 

xiii, 26 

xiii, 30 

xiv, 12 

xiv, 22 

xiv, 30 

xvi, II 

xviii, 16, 18, 25 
xviii, 36 

xix, 13 

xix, 17 

xix, 38 

XX, 17 

XX, 24 


xxi, 2 

xxi, 1-14 ... 30, 
xxi, 25 

... 146 

... 296 

... 294 

... 187 

... 136 
xiv, 144 

... 136 

... 291 

... 136 

... 286 

- 233 

- 315 
... 102 

235> 294 

... 294 

... 123 

... 304 

... 211 

... 108 

... 108 

- 73 
••• 73 
... 211 
... 211 
... 294 

75. 279 

... 211 

235. 294 

... 97 

... 102 

... 293 

... 106 

... 304 

... 2QO 

- 233 

































154. 275 1 


233 1 


... 172 

... 341 

... 318 

... 136 

... 172 

... 283 
235> 294 

1,14 ... 
!« 15-25 

i, 21 


11,38 ... 
iii, 2 

iii, 19 ... 
iii, 21 ... 

iv,33 .- 

V, 14 ... 

V, 16 ... 

V, 31 ... 

vii, 51-53 
viii, 4 ... 
viii, 5-13 
viii, 7 ... 
viii, 9-1 1 
viii, 13... 
viii, 16... 
viii, 22 ... 
viii, 27-40 
viii, 40... 
ix, I 


X, I 

X, 38 
xi, 18 
xi, 26 

xiii, 14 

xiii, 24 

xiv, 15 

xvi, 16 

xvi, 17 

xvii, II 

xvii, 29, 30 

xviii, 2 

xviii, II, 18 

xviii, 24, 25 

xix, 4 

xix, 12 

xix, 12,13, 15,16... 

XX, 21 281,286 

xxi, 20 255,259 

xxii, 6-9 155 

xxvi, 12-15 155 

xxvi, 20 ... 283,287 

xxvi, 28 254 

xxviii, 17-25 ... 254 


... 183 
... 136 
... 136 
... 287 
... 294 
... 283 
... 85 
... 159 
... 103 
... 136 
... 283 
... 65 
... 86 
... 136 
... 155 










Romans : 
i, 18-32 . 
11,4 ... . 
VI, 4, 6 ... . 

278, 288 
... 287 
... 132 

vii, 24 

viii, 19-21 ... . 

ix-xi ] 

xiv, 17 

XV, 3, 4 1 

XV, 19 

/ Corinthians . 
i, 12 ... ... . 

i, 24, 30 ... . 

ii, 6/. 

ii, 9 

iv, 20 

viii, 5 

ix,5 ... ... . 

IX, 5 

x, 14-22 ... . 

X, 16/. I 

X, 20 

X, 20/ 

xi, 23 

xi, 23^ ... I 
xi, 23-26 ... . 
xii, 2, 3 ... . 

xii, 3 

xii, 8-1 1 ... . 

xii, 27 , 

xii, 28 



XV, 8 I 

XV, 24-28 

XV, 28 

2 Corinthians: 

iii, 6 

iv, 3 

iv, 10 

V, 1-4 


vii, 9, 10 

viii, 9 

xii, 12 

xii, 21 

.. 131 

.. 70 

•• 275 

[54> 199 
.. 214 

•• 341 
.. 166 
.. 41 
42, 130 
•• 275 
.. 294 

•• 341 
.. 151 

50, 152 
,. 192 
.. 211 









Galatians : 




i, 19 
ii, 20 
iii, I 
iv, 8/ 
IV, 24 
vi, 17 



21, 237, 342 





,. ... 132 



Ephesians : 

11,25 ••• 



iv, 6-8 ... 

ii, 2 


iv, 16/.... 

ii, II 


iv, 19, 21 

ili, i8 




Titus : 

iv, 12 


ii, 13 ... 

iv, 17 


V, 23 





ii, 18 ... 
iv, 14... 



iv, 15 ... 




v,7 ... 

VI, I 

CoJossians : 

vi,6 ... 



vi, 17/ 

Ii, 2 


vii, I 




vii, 3 ... 




vii, 3 ... 

ii, 17, 19 ... 


ix,3 ... 

iv, II 



xii, 17 ... 

2 Thessalon 

ians : 

James : 




I, 17 ... 

I Timothy : 

iii, 6 

iii, 16 ... 22,5 

5, 65 


vi, 12, 13 


I Peter : 

vi, 20 



ii, 2 

ii, 25 ... 

2 Timothy: 

iv, 16 ... 




V, 13 ... 


2 Peter: 


ii, I 


iii, 4,8... 


iii, 9 ... 

iii, 10 ... 


I John : 

ii, 18 ... 

... 167 

... 86 
... 167 


r.. 287 

... 142 

••• 339 

... 196 

93, 183 

... 342 

235, 294 
... 287 



[8, 186 
. 227 
• 254 
. 240 

2 John 

Jude : 


Revelation : 
i, 8 

ii, 5 ... 
iii, 4 

v,6 ... 
ix, 20/. 
X, 10 

xiii, 8 ... 
xiv, 6f.... 
xvi, 9, II 
xvi, 13 ... 
xviii, 2 ... 
xix, 14 ... 
xxi, 6 ... 
xxii, 13... 






• 17 


• 91 
. 282 
. 124 
. 91 

145, 156 


Abbott, ioo 
Acidalius, 249 
^lianus, 126 
^lius Adrian, 223, 242 
^schylus, 13, 72, 99 
Agrippa, 263 /. 
Ambrosius, 168 
Anaxagoras, 131 
Antiochus, 127, 162 
Antoninus, 131, 163, 241 
Apollonius, 47 
Aristides, 48 /., 50, 72 
Aristotle, xiv, 13, 70, 

Arnold, 81, 247 
Asklepios, 72 
Athenagoras, 46 
Augustine, 29, 30, 118 
Augustus, 241 

Bacon, B. W., hi, 212, 

Bacon, Francis, 229 
Badham, 271 
Barzellotti, 127/ 
Basilides, 12, 86, 88, 206 
Bauer, B., 20, 316/. 
Baumann, 190 
Bechtel, 29 
Bekker, 233 
Bentley, 320 
Berendts, 342 
Binet-Sangle, xvlii, 81, 

Bishop, 114 
Blass, 155, 254 
Bolland, 210 
Botten, 194 
Bousset, xix, 81, 87, 

Bracciolini, 239 
Brandt, 141 
Brewer, 305 
Bruno, 12 
Brutus, M., 163 
Budde, 312 

Buhl, 279, 284, 321 
Burkitt, xiii, 146, 272, 
Butler, 142 
Byron, 314 

Calvin, 12, 59 
Canney, 298 
Carneades, 70, 162 
Case, 33o#, 327, 343 
Cato, 163 
Celsus, 168 
Chamberlain, 81 
Cheyne, 285, 293, 304, 

306, 317, 318, 321 
Chrysippus, 162 
Chrysostom, 336 
Chvvolson, 229-231 
Cicero, 163, 337 
Clemens Alex., 51 y., 

72, 222, 227, 233 
Clemens Rom., 240, 

Cohen, 116 
Colton, 128 
Conybeare, 32, 70 
Cramer, 316 
Cumont, 69, 132 
Cyrus, 130 

Dalman, 304 
Dante, 303 
Davis, 329 
Deissmann, 336 
Delitzsch, 68, 92 
Democritus, 70 
De Quincey, 309 
Didache, 150 
Diederichs, 327 
Dindorf, 307 
Dio Cassius, 248, 251 /". 
Diogenes Laertius, 196 
Dittrnar, 313, 318 
Domitian, 242 
Drews, 119, 229 


Eddy, Mrs., 59, 183 
Egli, 30 
Eisler, 30, 130 
Eleazar, 224 
Empedocles, 42, 130 
Epicharmus, 156 
Epicurus, 70 
Epictetus, 131 
Epiphanius, 45, 159 
Eucken, 79 
Euripides, 13 
Eusebius, 70, 223, 241, 

Ewald, 20 

Ferrero, 2^'jff. 
Fox, 59 

Fundanus, 242 
Furneaux, 240 

Gautama, 81 
Geffcken, 49, 263 
Gen^brand, 194 
Gibbon, 259 
Gladstone, 142 
Godet, 297 
Grotius, 194 

Hal^vy, 321 
Harnack, xiii-x vi , xviii- 

xxi, 9, 11-13, 48, 64, 

81, 86, 92, 131, 143, 

206, 332 
Harris, xxi, 50 
Harvey, 221 
Haupt, 13, 107, 123, 320 
Hegel, 119 
Hegesippus, 236 
Heinrici, 133/, 3" 
Heitmueller, 150, 157, 

Hengstenberg, 30, 108 
Hennecke, 262 
Heraclitus, n8 
Hermann, 328 
Herodotus, 130, 338 



Hertlein, 271 
Hilbert, 333 
Hilg-enfeld, 86, 236, 327 
Hippolytus, 86,88, 118, 

159. 199 
Hirsch, 225 
HitzifT, 323 
Holsten, 20, 133, 148 
Holtzmann, 43 /., 57, 

Homer, 162, 338, 341 
Horace, 162 
Hort, xiv 
Hoyer, 17 
Huss, 12 
Huxley, 117 

Ignatius, 206 
Irenaeus, 26, 159, 206, 


Jensen, 8 

Jerome, 30/., 115, 121, 
237. 243 

Jonson, Ben, 306 

Josephus, 83, 223, 226, 
229/., 234-238, 253, 
298,304, 340, 342/. 

Julicher, xx, 37, 39, 40, 

Justin, 51, 53, 56, 150, 

206, 214, 218 y., 256, 
262, 265, 336 

Justus, 83 
Juvenal, 261 

Kalthoff, 8 
Kampmeier, 260, 262, 

Kant, 76 

Kautzsch, 280, 312 
Keim, 30, 81, iii, 177, 

212, 242, 285, 293, 

Kiefl, 330 
Klein, 291 
Knox, 12, 59 
Kostlin, 335 
Kreyenbiihl, 123 

Lactantius, 38, 50, 243 
Lang, 248, 313 
Lazzaretti, 173 
Leaf, 341 
Leibniz, 112 

Leonardo, 14 

Levy, 285 

Liddell, 307 

Lietzmann, 17, 131 

Lightfoot, 242, 254 

Lincoln, 14, 329 

Linnaeus, 6 

Lipsius, 263 

Loisy, xi, xiii, xvi, xviii, 

xix, 78, 95, 106, III, 

318, 326 
Loman, 316 
de Loosten, 190 
Lucan, 75 
Lucian, 224/!, 252 
Lucretius, 70, 162 
Luther, 12, 14, 59, 253 

Macintosh, 328 
Mallock, 70 
Manetho, 224 
Mann, 78 

Marcion, 12, 194, 206 
Margoliouth, xxii 
Margolis, xxiii 
Martial, 261 
McGififert, 235 
Melanchthon, 12 
Melito, 241 /. 
Meltzer, 337, 339 
Mensinga, 340/". 
Merx, 102, 126, 274, 

Metatron^ 339 
Meyboom, 328 
Meyer, 133, 134, 194 
Milton, 8 

Minucius Felix, 52 
Mohammed, 15 
Mommsen, 240, 242 
Moses, 224 
Mueller, 95, 187 
Muretus, 249 

Napoleon, 78 

Neander, 235 

Nero, 238, 251, 256 /, 

262 # 
Nestle, E., 293, 304 
Nestle, W., 126 
Neumann, 181, 208 /"., 

Nicolardot, 95 
Nipperdey, 249 
Novalis, 67 
Numa, 219 

CEhler, 220 

Olsj^ausen, iii 

Oppian, 30 

Origen, x, 29, 37, 45, 
50, 54, 103, 166, 168, 
204, 217, 233, 237, 

243. 323. 329 
Overbeck, 242 
Ovid, 127 

Parker, 59 
Paulsen, 119, 184 
Paulus (Sergius), 163 
Pausanias, 307 
Peano, 333 
Pepys, 261 
Per^s, 78 
Pericles, 127 
Persius, 244 
Pfleiderer, 194, 334/ 
Philo, 52, 83, 142 
Phocylides, 128 
Photius, 83 
Pindar, 125, 198, 208 
Plato, 13, 46, 48, 65, 70, 

75, 142, 161 
Pliny, 224, 248, 252 /. 
Plutarch, 42, 127 
Porphyry, 219 
Posidonius, 162 
Preuschen, 70, 86, 343 
Protagoras, 70 
Ptolemy, 6 
Pythagoras, 126 

Quadratus, 223 

Ramsay, 59, 242, 247 
Rassmussen, 172, 190 
Reinach, S., iii, 142, 

252, 255 ^ 
Reitzenstein, 160, 271 
Renan, xvi, 20, 81, 172, 

Reuss, 108 
Reville, 177 
Robertson, 8, 181 
Robinson, 50 
Rochefoucauld, 128 
Rost, 315 
Russell, 6, 334 
Ryssel, 312 

SCH^FER, 190 

Schechter, xxii, xxiii 
Schiller, 242, 259 



Schlager, 331 
Schleiermacher, 67 
Schmidt, 194, 222, 263, 

Schmidtke, 292 
Schmiedel, xi-xill, 9, 
20, 25 /., 31, 33, 41, 
81, 97, no, 142, 177, 
208, 213, 221, 223, 226, 

292, 330.337. 339. 341 
Schurer, 233, 286, 343 
Schweitzer, xviii, 124 
Schwen, 291 f., 327, 

Scott, 307 
Seneca, 245, 261 
Socrates, xiv, 13, 15,72, 

von Soden, 9, 81, 160, 

229, 247 
Sophocles, 13, 72, 127 
Spinoza, 158 
Stock, 340, 341, 343 
Strabo, 323 
Strauss, in, 316 
Suetonius, 248, 251, 253, 



Tacitus, 224, 229, 238, 
251.253, 256/., 259/: 

Tatian, 53, 113, 242 

Tertullian, 26, 150, 158, 
208, 219/., 223, 233, 
262, 265, 242, 297, 336 

Thales, 46 

Theognis, 128 

Theophilus, 53 

Thoma, 123 

Thucydides, 41 

Tiberius, 252, 265 

Tischendorf, 268, 304 

Trajan, 252 

Troeltsch, 328 


Valentinus, 12, 206 
Vespasian, 224 
Volkmar, ix, x, 30, 32, 

Washington, 14 
Weber, 271, 286 
Weinel, 262, 299, 301, 

Weiss, J., xvni, 95, 299, 

Weizsacker, 44 

Wellhausen, xiii/, xvi, 
xix, 20, 34, 36, 37, 
39, 60, 104, III, 166, 
193 /, 269, 273 /., 
277, 284, 295, 304, 
308, 318, 321, 323/: 

Wendland, 330, 332 

Wendling, 95 

Wernle, 78,. 292 

Westcott, xiv 

Wetstein, 44, 269 

Whately, 78 

Winckler, 236, 292,315, 

Windisch, 2, 334-339 

Wohlenberg, in 

Wrede, xviii, 20, 143, 

Xenocrates, 159 
Xenophon, 307 

Zahn, 43, 44, 73, III, 

.340. 342 
Zimmern, 112 
Zoroaster, 224 
Zwingli, 121, 253 


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